Former Book Depository Reopens in Detroit With Innovative Event Space

May 22, 2023

On April 24, Michigan Central Station, the highly anticipated development in Detroit, celebrated the official grand opening of Newlab Detroit, a high-tech startup ecosystem that has already attracted 25 companies, located in the restored Book Depository. Built in 1936, the Albert Kahn-designed Roosevelt Warehouse, a three-story building next to the old train station, is open again after sitting vacant since a fire in 1987.

Inside the Book Depository, a 2,000-square-foot event space and a 200-seat space overlooks an 11,000-sq.-ft. robotics and prototyping facility, while the second and third floors feature open and private studios and workspaces. The basement also has these spaces, along with a tunnel leading to Michigan Central.   

“The opening of the newly renovated Book Depository in Corktown is another great example of Detroit’s momentum as a global leader in innovative meeting and event spaces,” said Claude Molinari, president and CEO of Visit Detroit. “Along with the redeveloped Michigan Central, the Book Depository will be the global hub for the sustainable mobility industry.”

He added, “If your event is about innovation and making a change, then you need to be hosting it in Detroit.”

The first official opening at Michigan Central — a new 30-acre center advancing mobility-focused technologies that is the vision of Ford Motor Co. Executive Chairman Bill Ford — represents a major milestone for the city and the region.

“Five years ago, we set out to create a place that would accelerate Detroit and our region’s role in solving the most pressing mobility challenges and change people’s lives for the better,” Ford said in a press release by Michigan Central

He continued, “With the opening of Newlab Detroit in the Book Depository, the first building completed in Michigan Central’s campus, that vision is becoming a reality. We see an opportunity to bring new companies and jobs to Michigan, while also attracting the best and the brightest talent for our industry.” 

Newlab Detroit

In July, Michigan Central — along with the Fillmore Detroit and other locations around the city — will host the TED Countdown Summit 2023, July 11-14. The venue was no doubt selected because “Michigan Central is a hub where experts, startups and community leaders come together to develop solutions and skills that address pressing societal challenges, including how to build a more accessible, sustainable future for all,” according to the TED website. 

Projected to attract thousands of new jobs to Michigan Central, the campus will offer high-design innovation and collaborative workspace, residential, dozens of acres of green and open space for the community, and retail and hospitality.

“Newlab at Michigan Central is essential to making Detroit the leading hub of global mobility innovation and is a key platform for economic development in Michigan,” said Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer. 

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan added, “Michigan Central will be a tremendous economic development engine for Detroit, attracting and growing top mobility companies and entrepreneurs, locally and from around the world, to innovate and build their products right here.”


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