Newlab Michigan Central

Newlab at Michigan Central Revives the Book Depository to become a Global Center of Innovation for Mobility

Building on the success of Newlab at Brooklyn Navy Yard, we were engaged on behalf of Newlab to lead the development of their Detroit home. This project, Newlab at Michigan Central, was conceived as a 270,000-sq ft new home for mobility-focused entrepreneurs to build breakthrough companies that accelerate the development of new, sustainable, and equitable solutions. Supported by Ford’s commitment to help advance future technologies and skills, Newlab’s latest home is the first building to open at a major 30-acre redevelopment site, with the renewed Michigan Central Station at its center.

Together, we collaborated to establish the project’s program, vision, and construction strategy. We worked closely with the project’s designer, Nicko Elliott of CIVILIAN, to reimagine the building. Located in the newly restored Book Depository building in Detroit, the space includes multiple shop spaces and prototyping labs to serve up-and-coming startups, entrepreneurs, engineers, and scientists, accelerating their R&D processes. Each shop is equipped with state-of-the-art equipment, catering to different materiality including digital fabrication, metal, casting, robotics, metrology, textiles and CNC capabilities to name a few. In addition to the robust shops, the facility includes spaces for collaboration, individual tenant offices, a cafe, event spaces, and exhibition opportunities.

Two image side by side, a reception desk and an events space

We managed this dynamic workplace and R&D facility in collaboration with Newlab, playing an integral role in the initial planning of the project, coordination of design and construction teams, and ensuring the project vision was achieved.

We are both proud of our continued partnership with Newlab and of our involvement in reimagining Detroit’s iconic Book Depository, breathing new life and energy into the previously abandoned space, and ensuring Detroit’s legacy of innovation lives on long into the future.

Detroit, the beating heart of American ingenuity, is not only the birthplace of manufacturing and the modern automotive industry; it is the place where the next century of mobility innovation will be imagined and built. The Book Depository building—designed by the legendary Detroit architect, Albert Kahn—has been empty for 30 years and is an emblem of Detroit’s rich history. Now, Michigan Central and Newlab are excited to breathe new life into the building by laying the foundation for Detroit’s future while paying homage to its past.
David Belt
Co-Founder of Newlab
Indoor greenery with people chatting in the atrium
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Emily Puhnaty, Director of Business Development & Communications