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General Motors and Bedrock plan to redevelop GM Detroit headquarters towers, AP source says

General Motors and real estate firm Bedrock will jointly explore ways to redevelop the automaker’s massive headquarters in downtown Detroit, according to a person briefed on the plans.

GM CEO Mary Barra and Bedrock Chairman Dan Gilbert plan to hold a news conference Monday afternoon to discuss the Renaissance Center deal, said the person, who asked not to be identified because the plans have not been formally announced.

The person said the plan does not include a sale of the complex, which is an icon on the Detroit skyline and often appears on sports television broadcasts.

Gilbert’s company has been buying properties in the city center for years. He also runs the loan company Rocket Mortgage.

In a 2022 interview, Barra told The Associated Press that GM will keep its headquarters in the seven-building tower complex across the Detroit River from Canada.

But she qualified her statements and said she cannot predict what might happen in five, ten or fifteen years. Since then, about 5,000 GM employees have taken early retirement, and many employees are still working in a hybrid office-work-from-home schedule, reducing GM’s need for office space.

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“Our headquarters will always be in Detroit, at the RenCen,” she said, using the name locals gave to the complex. “Right now the plan is for it to be in the Renaissance Center. That is our home,” she said.

The company occupies about half of RenCen’s towers, which have seen little pedestrian traffic for years. Much of GM’s workforce, including product development and engineering, is located north of the city in a revamped 1950s engineering center in suburban Warren. After GM’s bankruptcy in 2009, the company considered moving its headquarters there.

“As we move to a more hybrid work structure, we need to look at what the right space is,” Barra said.

She also hinted in the interview that GM would explore development opportunities on the riverfront with the city.

The Renaissance Center was built by Henry Ford II, who formed a coalition in the 1970s in an effort to revitalize downtown Detroit. GM bought the complex in 1996 and renovated it, moving its headquarters there from an area north of downtown.

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