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DETROIT-Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick says the old Michigan Central Depot is his choice to serve as the site of the Motor City’s new police headquarters. No deal, however, has yet been worked out between the city and the building’s owners on the renovation that would be needed to transform the aging train station into a police station.

The 17-story building–vacant for 15 years–has been targeted for many development projects over the year. Now, the mayor’s office says it is the best choice to replace the existing police headquarters on Beaubien Street.

Kilpatrick likes the depot for a number of reasons:

* With its office tower, the complex would provide more than enough space for a new headquarters.

* The depot site would allow parking for hundreds of vehicles.

* The project may be eligible for environmental brown-field development funding.

* Choosing the depot would remove another landmark building from Detroit’s list of derelict structures.

* The move would give southwest Detroit an immediate financial boost.

Matthew Moroun, vice chairman of CenTra Inc., the company that owns the depot and the nearby Ambassador Bridge, released a statement that says the company is excited.

“We’re treating this for what it is, a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity not only to build a world-class police headquarters, but also to offer something very good back to the community,” he says. “We look forward to working out the development agreement.”

Tentative plans call for CenTra to pay for the renovation and lease the building to the city on a long-term basis.

No decision has been made about the fate of the existing police headquarters at 1300 Beaubien. Built in 1923 and designed by architect Albert Kahn, the building is currently considered too inefficient to be a modern police command structure.

Built in 1913 and vacated by Amtrak in 1988, the depot has been reduced to ruin by vandalism and the effects of the elements. Virtually every window is broken in the depot and more than once the city has considered razing the structure.

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