Construction now underway on new state-of-the-art State Fair Transit Center, outdoor public plaza

  • Historic Dairy Cattle building being saved and converted into State-of-the-art Transit Center
  • When complete, riders will enjoy fully indoor service, restroom facilities, as well as community amenities and outdoor public space
  • Grand Opening expected in Spring 2024


Work to convert the historic Dairy Cattle Barn at the former Michigan State Fairgrounds into a new state-of-the-art transit center, is now well underway city officials announced today. Interior demolition was completed over the winter and now the site is bustling with activity as crews work to create a beautiful transit hub that will serve tens of thousands of transit riders annually. 

Once complete next Spring, the new transit center will serve both Detroit Department of Transportation and SMART riders, as well as ride share customers and those using other transportation forms such as MoGo bikes and scooters.  The building will offer not only fully indoor service for transit users, but also restroom facilities, retail and community space, as well as outdoor public gathering areas featuring the preserved south portico of the former State Fair Coliseum.

Work began this month on the 52,000-square-foot building to ensure buses will be able to pull in and out of the building. The interior of the new hub will be nothing like DDOT riders or operators have seen before and will rival transit hubs in other big cities across the US. The interior will include some retail/restaurant options, an indoor lobby and public waiting area, a ticket office, restrooms for the public and a separate lounge and restroom area for transit operators, giving them an end-of-the-route respite point.

“This new transit hub will be transformational for Detroit,” said Executive Director of Transit Mikel Oglesby. “Big cities everywhere have bus depots where you can grab a cup of coffee and a sandwich, where you can wait without worrying about the weather. Thanks in part to this project, that is what the future of transit looks like here in Detroit.”

The outdoor greenspace will utilize the land where the Coliseum stood, with its focal point the beautiful south portico of the Coliseum, which the design team was able to preserve. The space will be activated for community events, host concerts, food trucks and the like. 

The plan to reuse the dairy cattle building and the portico was approved by Detroit City Council in November 2021 after they were presented with the results of a city-commissioned a feasibility study that determined adaptive reuse of the historic buildings was in fact an option. The study was done after community members expressed their desire for the city to find a way to preserve these pieces of Michigan history.

“We listened to the community and instead of just saying it can’t be done, we took the extra steps to make it happen,” said Tyrone Clifton, Director of the Detroit Building Authority. “The team has gone to great lengths to ensure the architectural integrity of these structures was preserved and the final product is going to be nothing short of beautiful. We think Detroiters will be proud when it’s completed.”

The overall project, including the new transit center, the partial demolition of the Coliseum and restoration of its south portico, as well as the creation of the outdoor plaza, is expected to cost approximately $31.5 million, with $7 million coming from Detroit-based Sterling Group as part of the agreement to build the new Amazon fulfillment center on another portion of the State Fairgrounds.

While the all-new facility is being built, transit riders are using a temporary outdoor transit hub along Woodward Avenue south of 8 Mile Road, just north of the former transit hub and west of the construction site.

New State Fair Transit Center 1


New State Fair Transit Center 2


New State Fair Transit Center 3
Outdoor and indoor renderings of the new State Fair Transit Center located at 1121 West 8 Mile Road. Courtesy of City of Detroit.