Southfield (CW50) – Ford Motor Company’s plans to create a mobility innovation hub in Corktown, anchored by the renovations of the Michigan Central Station. What does it mean for Corktown’s business owners? There are supporters of the project amongst owners, as well as many who are still concerned about the disruption it will cause in the neighborhood and business community.

Some of the concerns stem from it being a massive project, with months of construction and a heavy increase of traffic in the area, making it difficult to travel in neighborhood’s commercial district. However, other business owners are excited about the number of new residents and workers the district will have after the completion of the project. More people equates to more customers and increased business for the surrounding restaurants, retail, and grocery stores.

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Community Connect Host Jackie Paige, with Bob Roberts, Co-Owner of McShane’s Irish Pub and President of Corktown Business Association

Bob Roberts, Co-Owner of McShane’s Irish Pub and President of the Corktown Business Association, joins Jackie Paige on Community Connect to talk about how he sees the future of Corktown and why he thinks the Michigan Central Station project has positives and negatives to the community.

McShane’s Irish Pub opened its doors in Corktown back in 2012. Since then, the neighborhood has grown significantly. With Ford’s new project set to be completed in 2022, the district has seen an increase in leasing and rent prices for newer businesses.

“Everybody tells us that we got in at the right time, because we might not be able to afford it today if we were trying to do the same thing.”

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Roberts discussed how McShane’s has enjoyed the increased business from workers at the Michigan Central Station project stopping into the restaurant for lunch.

Historic Corktown Sign

As President of the Corktown Business Association, Roberts shared what he has been hearing from other business owners about their concerns, while also giving Ford credit for the company’s engagement with the community as the project moves forward.

“For example, when the shutdown happened [due to the COVID-19 pandemic], [Ford] came to us and said ‘What can we do to help support the small businesses?'”

With Ford Motor Company’s relationship with Henry Ford Hospital, they were purchasing 150 meals every day from Corktown restaurants for frontline healthcare workers, greatly benefiting the five local restaurants that remained open during the shutdown.

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Watch COMMUNITY CONNECT, Saturday at 7am on CW50