Monday, April 18, 2011
The Rennaisance Center - GM's awe-inspiring world headquarters in downtown Detroit is a symbol of American automotive excellence
But whenever you watch local news coverage about GM on television, they will often cut to stock footage of GM’s corporate headquarters in Detroit, Mich.
That massive structure of seven meticulous skyscrapers is called the Renaissance Center, or “RenCen” as it is known by insiders. It houses the GM world headquarters, as well as a downtown shopping district that includes storefronts, a food court, a Marriott hotel, and a movie theatre.
In spite of the RenCen’s close association with General Motors, it was actually commissioned in 1970 by cross-town rival Ford motor Company. Ford occupied and refined the complex from 1977 until it was purchased by GM in 1996. GM then undertook a $500-million restoration and upgrade of the facility.
In contrast, the ominous images of today’s RenCen are often depicted as a symbol of American excess and failure. The mainstream media doesn’t seem to report much good news from the troubled car maker anymore.
Once inside the RenCen, a beautiful showroom reminds you that, “hey, this company really does still build some nice vehicles.” Most new GM cars and light trucks are on display in the showroom, including classic favorites like the Impala and Lucerne, and new models such as the Corvette Grand Sport and Buick LaCrosse.
It is hard to be an American and not hope they succeed. For more than a century, General Motors has been a symbol of American know-how and determination. And based on the cars and trucks that come from GM factories around the world, it can be again.
The slideshow below contains pictures from inside and outside the beautiful and impressive GM RenCen World Headquarters. Many of them are pictures I took myself--usually they are blurry car photos. Others are professional shots taken by GM's marketing people. If it looks like it was shot from a helecopter, I probably didn't take it. But the best photos in the world would have a hard time conveying just how awe-inspiring this place really is.