GM Renaissance Center Future Plans Unclear37
Last year, GM introduced its flexible ‘Work Appropriately’ standard, which allows the automaker’s white-collar employees to work from home and only come into the office when they feel like it, or when it’s needed to attend meetings or other in-person engagements. This policy has allowed GM to expand its pool of potential talent by enabling it to hire individuals from outside Michigan, but it has had the unfortunate knock-on effect of leaving its iconic Renaissance Center headquarters in downtown Detroit feeling eerily empty.
A recent report from The Detroit Free Press sheds light on the difficult decision GM faces with the Renaissance Center, which the automaker purchased from a hotel company in 1996. Since many of GM’s Detroit-based white-collar employees exercise its Work Appropriately standard, the Renaissance Center sits mostly empty on any given weekday. This has left GM in a bit of an awkward spot, as many of the building’s tenants, including office space renters, as well as food vendors and shops, have now departed the facility or are considering doing so due to the decrease in foot traffic.
While she didn’t say the automaker was looking to depart the sprawling complex, GM CEO Mary Barra would only commit to GM’s near-term future in the Ren Cen during an interview with the Free Press last month.
“Right now, our plans are to be in the Ren Cen,” Barra said. “We’ve updated many of the floors. But, um, I think we are focused… we don’t occupy the whole Ren Cen, we’re a couple of towers right now. But that’s our home, that’s what we’re creating into open space.”
A spokesperson for GM, Maria Raynal, told The Detroit Free Press that it’s “still too soon to say what the return-to-office scenario looks like,” for GM as the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic are still being felt. It seems unlikely the automaker will abandon its Work Appropriately policy, though – a popular standard that has expanded the automaker’s talent pool and one that even GM CEO Mary Barra has implemented herself.
While the Ren Cen’s future looks rocky, Barra told the Free Press the automaker has no plans of abandoning its home city.
“Detroit’s our home and the headquarters of General Motors will always be in Detroit,” she said.
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General Motors product is not what it use to be ,there margin of sales have decline along with the brands that they have discontinued, there an old dinosaur that is headed for extinction and they know this,they shedding weight to stay afloat this is obvious, consumers are not going to buy EV’s ,and there foolish for trying this when they don’t even have the market shares ,the reason why is obvious
All the salty boomers are out in full force!
Like the tide pod eating Must invest in Crypto Millennials?
Oh ya, are those the same Boomers that created the entire environment the millennials grew up in? The boomers who gave out those participation trophies they like to make fun of so much? Those boomers that raised the millennials to be exactly the people they hate? It’s downright hilarious. Go back to your retirement home, hahah.
Let’s injects done cold hardh reality.
Covid has changed the working world and moved of companies decision to work from home.
Most tech companies have done it for years but not the now the mainstream companies were forced to try it and found it works better than they ever imagined.
Employees love it with no commute time wasted. Tight now now high price gas used and most gain 1-2 hours of free time.
Companies have found lower cost in utilities. No issues for added equipment please and real-estate. Employees have been found to be more productive and companies can hire anywhere in the world now.
The future fit large cities is bleak as many workers are not going to return.
This is nothing Mary. GM or most other companies ever saw coming this soon.
GM has tried to be the good company in Detroit and not abandon the city. Let’s face it everyone left but GM. Yes Ford is in Dearborn but they are not in down town Detroit.
I have worked from home going on 3 years. I do not and don’t have to go back. I can do it all from home be it my daily work not just here but globally via Teams and Zoom
GM needs to find a way to support Detroit but also a way to exit the Center. This is not easy and the News and web idiots will roast them. This is a major economic move that has up have a ton of PR work involved.
At worst I am sure much of the cost at the center skidoo can be written off taxes.
If they move from the Ren Cen, build the final battery plant in the city of Detroit and call it a day.
Sorry this is the real world.
The party is over the the ren cen. It’s time all those cushy job people come back to reality.
Close and sell the ren cen.
There is plenty of old unused office space at the remaining (yet shrinking) assembly plants at GM. Transfer those ‘management’ people across the country like you do with the hourly people. They can wake up and watch the hourly people who are keeping the company alive.
After all it is a huge energy savings since GM is already paying to heat and maintain assembly plant office space.
You are spot on with your unused plant office space comment. The GM Parma Metals Center, formerly the Chevrolet stamping plant on Brookpark Road ( Cleveland, Ohio ) has an ocean of empty office space on two floors. Approximately 50,000+ square feet on each floor. Has been unused for years. Quality, solid space. Plant was built in 1950. Located in a desirable industrial district. Needs to be put to reuse.
GM Parma Metals Center is one of GM’s flagship plants.
Crosstown rival Ford closed their Walton Hills ( Cleveland, Ohio ) Stamping Plant years ago.
Cleveland, Ohio in it’s heyday was the tool and die capitol of America.
Convert it over to a Las Vegas size Casino. This is the only option for a building of this size. No more office space is needed. It has an enormous Marriott hotel, converting the other towers into hotel space or private condos and rental units. Dan Gilbert started building an eighty-story skyscraper about 5 years ago and they have downsized the building 4 times because they now see there is no need for additional office space. Gilbert has slowed the work on the building to a crawl, trying to see what the future looks like. The Ren Center building is too large for someone to purchase unless they have multiple options to do with all that space. It is a beautiful center and the eye-catching symbol of Detroit, but it is a $$ money-losing monster to keep up.
One thing not mentioned is that for many GM employees the commute to the Ren Cen is long and brutal, along with the fact that you have to pay city of Detroit taxes for days you are working there. The GM Tech Center in Warren is anything but empty and now that the mask mandate lifted I’m seeing more people there all the time.
This is the big new thing in the commercial office workforce / workspace. Particularly in high rise and mid rise towers in downtown and suburban locations.
This flex home office workplace program has become extremely popular. Also many people equipped with phone, computer are working / networking from their homes in desirable living locations such as Laguna Beach, Durango, Colorado, Lake Tahoe, Aspen, Colorado, Steamboat, Colorado, Telluride,Colorado, Vail Colorado, Park City, Utah, Martha’s Vineyard, St. George, Utah, Taos, New Mexico, Jackson, Wyoming, etc.
Caterpillar in Peoria is faced with the same situation as GM in their Ren Center tower complex with their 100 N. E. Adams Street, General Offices building in downtown Peoria, Illinois.
Cat offers a similar home workspace plan to their workers as GM does. The Caterpillar General Offices building at 100 N.E. Adams Street in downtown Peoria is now half empty with staffers working in their homes. The cafeteria is this building is on a reduced menu schedule. The seventh floor executive staff has relocated to Dallas to establish a new world headquarters. This was done for a more desirable location to attract talent and to create a more progressive contemporary image versus being headquartered in a mid sized rustbelt town based on agriculture and metalworking. Peoria doesn’t have a hip image like Denver, Dallas, Austin or Santa Clara.
My buddy is in the process of selling his commercial office janitorial supply business in San Francisco since about half of the downtown San Francisco office space is now empty with workers now operating in their homes. The commutes over the Bay and Golden Gate bridges are brutal and have toll charges.
GM will eventually unload the Ren Center and build a hip, garden type corporate headquarters in the far Detroit burbs, similar to what Chrysler did in Bloomfield Hills or what Eaton did in Beachwood, Ohio.
It’s a changing world out there folks.
If GM ever moves its HQ anywhere else it will be at the GM Tech Center.
Edward M. Pate
I totally concur. GM corporate Taj Mahal at Tech Center. Get a ” name ” architect to design it like Deere and Cummins did. Not something done on Auto Cad. Suggest Gang Studio in Chicago. Something that emits ” WOW” ! A Pyramid shape for power. Atrium with multi floor skylight to display vehicles on ground floor.
Well that campus already designed by one of the biggest names of all time. Eero Saarinen
Edward M. Pate
Yes, Eero Saarinen, RIP. Saarinen also did Deere’s headquarters in Moline. The new building on the campus looks like it was designed by a T square. About as original and dramatic as Tesla’s pickup. This is the Celestiq’s assembly building.
That is the new Design Center West. I don’t like it at all and Saarinen probably turning over in his grave about it. It totally blocks the sight lines to the design dome from inside the campus and from outside of it on Mound Rd. At least the new Battery Lab has tried to carry over some of the design themes from Man A, B and C as well as the Research Bldg. My understanding is the Celestiq to be built at PPO.
Edward M Pate
Your comments are well taken.
When GM relocates and builds their headquarters office from the Ren Center to the Tech Center, I suggest a stand alone facility outside the hodge podge of the complex.
Also get a stand out ” name ” architect. Cummins in Columbus, Indiana, and the late great Irwin Miller, was a stellar example of top notch architectural planning for both the company and community. Many world class buildings in a mid size industrial town. Like no other place in America, or on earth.
You have to achieve a WOW affect like Cummins has.
Sad that Caterpillar with all it’s wealth never did this in Peoria. The only notable piece of architecture in Peoria is a residence designed by Frank Lloyd Wright in the vintage residential section of Moss Avenue.
It’s all about environment and asthetics now.
wish someone would delete the political trolls’ comments. Otherwise the comments here really enhance the article. I had no idea so many companies had taken work-at-home to heart. I figured they would reel everybody back in, like Tesla. Fascinating.
Bulldoze it and move HQ to a free red state and start over with new management!
Wow, what a beyond ridiculous comment! Red States are the least free of all! Michigan and Detroit is the only place for GM to be!
LOL, you are obviously a blue stater! No government nannies here!
A proud Michigander and proud Blue Stater!
MI is a huge nanny state.
Get out of here white supremest
GM should have never purchased the Ren Cen to begin with. It has been and will always be a money pit. Ford did not have a better idea when they built the place. I remember commuting home to Clarkston in Oakland County, from the Ren Cen and it sometimes took 4 hours during winter snow storms. Get home at 9:00 pm, then do it all over again at 5:00 am the next day. Was fun and great for family life. Children grew up without dear old Dad.
I remember when the Ren Cen was built it was derided as just an awful piece or architecture. GM has worked to spruce it up some. I wish they had just stayed in the old GM building on Grand Blvd and renovated it.
Edward M Pate
Ren Cen will eventually be gutted and rehabilitated into residential units just like the vintage GM headquarters building on Grand Avenue. It’s all about highest and best use with real estate. The famed Terminal Tower in Cleveland, Ohio has been partially rehabbed into residential units.
Watch Steve Gilbert purchase Ren Cen from GM and gut rehab it into residential units and Quicken offices.
Over the past 10 years and currently, most high rise construction in downtown San Francisco has been residential. Same with Denver and Salt Lake City. The Seniors and young geek professionals love the maintenance free convenience.
Although inner boundary Detroit city now has open land fields which make great vegetable truck farms and community gardens. Cleveland is also getting great swaths of open fields within city limits which make excellent vegetable truck farms. Both cities have excellent soil, water and a great growing season with warm nights.
Gary, Indiana is going through somewhat or a renaissance with Hispanics displacing Blacks. Lots of open fields in Gary.
Wonder when Ford is going to gut rehab the Michigan Central railroad tower for their brainpower?
Sad that Ford’s Dearborn has become filled with undesirables.