Michigan Central Launches with Opening of Newlab Detroit in the Book Depository Building

The opening of Newlab Detroit, which is expected to attract more high-tech startups to the city, marks the official launch of the larger Michigan Central project.
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Photograph by Brian Ferry, courtesy of Michigan Central

Ford has announced that the headquarters of Newlab Detroit will open in the newly renovated Book Depository Building today. The opening marks the official launch of Michigan Central.

Originally built in 1936, the Albert-Kahn-designed Book Depository was first used as a post office and mail sorting center before becoming the Detroit Public Schools’ Book Depository.

Today, it is part of the larger Michigan Central project, which transformed the 270,000-square-foot space into a “dynamic workplace with purpose-build labs to advance innovation.”

The Detroit branch of the New-York based Newlab is expected to aid in that transformation by attracting startups, entrepreneurs, engineers, and scientists building companies to the city.

“We are in a crucial period in history where we need to accelerate the development and deployment of critical technologies, but in ways that are human-centered and equitable. Michigan Central is building an unprecedented platform to make this possible,” David Belt, a co-founder of Newlab said in a press release.

“Newlab is dedicated to turning world-changing ideas into real-world solutions and we are honored to be partnering with Michigan Central, the City of Detroit and the State of Michigan to help cement Detroit’s position as the leader in mobility and drive transformative, innovation-led economic development.”

In addition to Newlab, Michigan Central offers their Skills at the Seams Program, which features classroom-style courses, internships, fellowships, apprenticeships, and other opportunities for Detroit residents to build skills needed to join the mobility workforce.

Plus, workspaces, residential units, dozens of acres of green- and community-spaces, retail, and hospitality businesses.

“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,” Bill Ford, the executive chair of Ford Motor Company said in a press release.

“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.”

For more information on the Michigan Central project, visit michigancentral.com.