Ford to Revamp Headquarters Campus to Emulate Silicon Valleyby
Electric bikes, self-driving cars to roam green grounds
Automaker declines to reveal cost of 10-year renovation plan
Ford Motor Co. is starting an extensive remodeling project this month on its 1950s headquarters and research campuses in Dearborn, Michigan, to create a work environment more akin to Silicon Valley than Motown.
The automaker in its announcement Tuesday declined to say how much it will spend over the next 10 years to rebuild and improve more than 7.5 million square feet (679,000 square meters) of space. General Motors Co. said last year that it would invest $1 billion through 2018 to renovate and expand its 60-year-old Tech Center campus in suburban Detroit.
Ford, which has begun calling itself an auto and mobility company, plans a renovated complex that will feature electric bikes and autonomous cars roaming more green space with paths, trails and covered walkways. New buildings will include a cylindrical glass Sustainability Showcase that produces more energy than it consumes. More than 30,000 employees will be moved from 70 buildings now into about 50 on two main campuses in Dearborn, focusing on product development and administration.
“When the 10-year transformation is complete, we’ll have demolished and consolidated 70 existing buildings, many of which are more than 60 years old,” Chief Executive Officer Mark Fields said on a webcast. “It consolidates our current fragmented footprint and replaces it with a centralized and connected campus.”
The second-largest U.S. automaker said its research and engineering campus, dedicated by President Dwight Eisenhower in 1953, will be overhauled to accommodate 24,000 workers, double the current number, in 4.5 million square feet of upgraded space. That will include a new 700,000-square-foot design center with new studios and an outdoor courtyard. The massive domed design showroom, where it often shows off new creations, will be upgraded, Ford said.
The company’s 12-story headquarters, dedicated in 1956 and known informally as the Glass House, will get exterior and interior enhancements starting in 2021, Ford said. A new structure for the Ford Credit unit will be connected to the headquarters building.
New buildings will reduce energy use by about 50 percent and save water, Ford said. The Sustainability Showcase building will have a geothermal heating and cooling system, as well as generate solar energy.
“This project incorporates thoughtful ways to improve the environmental footprint of our facilities, while creating a vibrant workplace that inspires our employees,” said Executive Chairman Bill Ford, a great-grandson of founder Henry Ford.