GM moves headquarters from RenCen to Hudson site

Detroit — General Motors will move its global headquarters to the Hudson development in Detroit, while working with the real estate company owned by billionaire mortgage tycoon Dan Gilbert to redevelop Renaissance Center, its current home a mile away, three sources familiar with the situation told the Detroit News.

The announcement is expected to be made at a press conference at 4:30pm at the site of the former JL Hudson store under construction, which is expected to open this year.

The partnership, details of which were not immediately available, will mark a new era for Michigan's tallest skyscraper amid questions about its future in the wake of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic that has disrupted workplace models and sent many to work remotely. Earlier this year, southeast Michigan and parts of central Michigan were recently ranked as a metropolitan area with the highest office vacancy rate in the country at 25%.

Gilbert's Bedrock LLC previously considered purchasing the 47-year-old Renaissance Center. The real estate company has acquired a group of properties along the Detroit Riverfront, citing visions of space for “sustainable urban development.”

Last week, at the Hudson site in Woodward, Bedrock and contractor Barton Mallow held a ceremony to place the final steel construction pile on the project's 685.4-foot tower. Groundbreaking on the project broke ground in 2017.

The two-building project will include 1.5 million square feet of office, retail, food, residential, hotel and event space. Bedrock plans to continue construction through the spring in phases as crews install the remaining elements of the glass facade.

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General Motors is the latest example of a company making moves regarding its headquarters in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic that has revolutionized workplaces. Most GM employees are expected to be at their offices three times a week, and it has moved a number of teams from RenCen to its Warren Technical Center in recent years.

Crosstown rival Stellantis NV also discussed selling its Auburn Hills headquarters in a leaseback agreement in which it would remain in the Pentastar-topped tower and tech center off Interstate 75 as a tenant.

Troy staffing firm Kelley Services Inc., Motorola Solutions Inc. of Chicago and Sherwin-Williams Inc. of Cleveland said they would sell their headquarters and lease space instead. It provides them with a source of liquidity with employees who are working remotely or partially.

Construction on the Renaissance Center began in 1973 under the vision of Henry Ford II in partnership with 26 other business leaders in an effort to encourage construction activity in Detroit in the wake of the 1967 Detroit Uprising. The $350 million (about $1.7 billion today) project was The largest privately financed real estate development project in the country at the time. When it opened in 1977, the Center Hotel Tower was the largest in the world. The 500 and 600 towers were added in 1981, and the third phase that was supposed to include residential housing never came to fruition as Detroit's population continued to decline.

General Motors purchased the complex as its global headquarters in 1996 for $73 million (about $142 million today). Move from Cadillac Place into the New Center area.

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GM has been looking to offload the seven-tower complex, which covers more than 5.5 million square feet, for some time. Crane Works in Detroit Previously mentioned Gilbert's Bedrock and GM had discussions in the fall of 2018 about selling the site; It collapsed due to costly renovations, including repairs to the HVAC system.

The Renaissance Center, located on 14 acres, is a city within a city that is home to the Marriott International Inc. hotel. In addition to the People Mover station.

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