DDOT breaks ground on new Coolidge Terminal on Schaefer

Nov. 10, 2023
The former terminal, which ceased operations in 2011 after being damaged by fire and has been vacant since, is being demolished to make room for the new $150 million facility.

The Detroit Department of Transportation (DDOT) has broken ground on a new Coolidge Terminal on Schaefer. The former terminal, which is being demolished to make room for the new $150 million facility, ceased operations in 2011 after being damaged by fire and has been vacant since.   

The new 200,000-square-foot, three-building terminal complex will provide a base for operations, maintenance and storage for DDOT. The brand-new terminal, which will also replace DDOT’s aging Gilbert Terminal, will become DDOT’s new west side base of operations for drivers and mechanics.  The eastside base will continue to be the Shoemaker Terminal near I-94 and Connor. 

The total cost of $160 million (including approximately $10 million for demolition of the existing terminal) is coming from the following sources: 

  • $102.5 million from the Federal Transit Administration 
  • $31.5 million in city funding 
  • $25.6 million from the Michigan Department of Transportation 

Detroit’s City Council approved the $160 million project, following a formal public hearing February to gather input from riders and other stakeholders. 

“The Coolidge replacement facility is a significant step toward reliable and clean transportation in Detroit,” said Detroit Council Member Fred Durhal III, who represents the area in which the facility is located. “The demolition and rebuilding of the Coolidge DDOT Terminal is a testament to our commitment to progress, resilience and a greener future. This new facility will provide modern storage, maintenance and operations buildings, accommodating 24-hour operations and initially 144 buses, with the capacity to expand to 216 buses in the future. It is an investment in a sustainable and efficient transportation system that benefits the entire community.” 

“This is a major investment in the future of DDOT and its employees we have been working toward for some time,” said Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan. “We owe a deep debt of gratitude to the Biden and Whitmer administrations for their investment in this much needed new terminal.  When it opens in late 2025, it will be a source of pride for our bus drivers.” 

The new terminal will consist of three buildings:  

  1. A maintenance building 
  2. A terminal building for storing DDOT coaches 
  3. An administrative building 

The complex will provide space for storing, maintaining and operating service for the existing 143 buses at Gilbert, as well as providing space for approximately 60 additional future buses. The new facility will also provide office space for DDOT Operations and Administration, lounge areas for operators, space for radio dispatch, parking for employees and more. 

“DDOT’s two top priorities in the provision of public transportation services are safety and reliability,” says Interim DDOT Director Michael Staley. “Transit Equipment Operators (TEOs) who have the tools and training and a working environment that is conducive to their well-being are some of the ways to be safer and more reliable. The new Coolidge Terminal will provide such an environment. Additionally, this facility will expand the capacity of DDOT to service and store and deploy the revenue fleet, from 143 units at the Gilbert Terminal to 200-plus at Coolidge. A more hospitable environment and enhanced operational capabilities will translate into improved service for the customers of DDOT.” 

As part of the site research, DDOT surveyed the surrounding area to ensure existing traffic, pedestrian crossings and business accessibility would not be negatively affected. 

The new Coolidge Terminal project is being led by the Detroit Building Authority, which also is managing the adaptive reuse of the former State Fair Dairy Cattle Barn near 8 Mile and Woodward to become DDOT’s new north Transit Center. That $35 million project also includes the development of Coliseum Park – new public plaza next to the new transit center that will incorporate a portion of the former State Fair Coliseum’s historic portico. 

“The Detroit Building Authority is excited to see this project get started. We know the team at DDOT will love this new facility and that it will ultimately result in improved service across the board,” said Tyrone Clifton, director of the Detroit Building Authority. “Bringing facilities across the city into the 21st century is a labor of love and our team is working hard to ensure the new Coolidge Terminal will be state-of-the-art.”    

DDOT began researching options for rebuilding the Coolidge Terminal in 2019, completing a Facilities Master Planning initiative in 2021. After considering options to continue using the site with no improvements, re-using existing buildings and a blend of reuse and building new, DDOT determined that the best course of action was to build an entirely new facility. Once the new Coolidge Terminal is operational, the existing Gilbert Terminal, on Rosa Parks Boulevard west of Midtown, will be decommissioned.