Former Detroit fairground converted into transit hub

Detroit’s Dairy Cattle Barn in 2009 (Andrew Jameson/CC BY-SA 3.0)
Construction has begun on a project to turn the Dairy Cattle Barn building in Michigan’s former state fairground into a Detroit transit hub.

The 52,000 sq ft building will connect with the SMART transportation system, as well as MoGo bikes and scooters. The building will also contain retail and restaurant space, an indoor lobby, a public waiting area, a ticket office and a separate lounge and bathroom for transit operators.

Public outdoor gathering areas are located in the south portico of the former State Fair Coliseum and can host concerts and food trucks.

Michigan’s Dairy Cattle Barn and State Fair Riding Coliseum have been listed on the National Register of Historic Places since 1980. Their reused was approved by Detroit City Council in November 2021.

Tyrone Clifton, Detroit Building Authority’s director, said: “We listened to the community and instead of just saying it can’t be done, we took the extra steps to make it happen.

“The team has gone to great lengths to ensure the architectural integrity of these structures was preserved and the final product is going to be nothing short of beautiful. We think Detroiters will be proud when it’s completed.”

Some $7m of the $32m project has been funded by the Sterling Group, a Detroit-based investment and real estate company, as part of an agreement to build an Amazon warehouse on the state fairground.

The Detroit Free Press reports that Amazon’s “fulfilment centre” was due to open in 2022, but the company has only just begun recruiting. 

The transport hub is due to open in 2024.

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