Ford unveiled sweeping plans today to redevelop dozens of buildings in Dearborn that house more than 30,000 employees in a project that will transform the automaker's presence in the city into two distinct campuses over the next 10 years.
The project, which represents an investment estimated at more than $1.2 billion, is intended to give Ford's employees the work environment and technology necessary to design and develop cars of the future.
In some ways, the massive project, in planning for more than three years, is long overdue.
In addition to its headquarters off Michigan Avenue, Ford has an assortment of nearly 70 disconnected buildings along Oakwood Boulevard, and many of those buildings are more than 60 years old. While some are only a few miles from one another, it isn't always easy to get from one building to another.
"For many of our buildings, this is the first true renovation … since they were originally built," said Ford CEO Mark Fields. "Ford World Headquarters was opened in 1956, and 60% of our buildings are more than 50 years old, so this is a very substantial investment for us."
The 10-year redevelopment project will be spearheaded by Ford Land, Ford's real estate management arm, and architectural firm SmithGroupJJR.
"This is more than an investment in new buildings. It’s an investment in our employees," Fields said. "It consolidates our current fragmented footprint, and transforms it into two centralized campuses."
When it's done, the campus for the research and development center will include a new circular modern building that, according to Ford, will generate more energy than it consumes. All the buildings will be equipped with the latest environmentally friendly technology, such as geothermal heating and cooling and the ability to generate renewable energy from the sun.