GM is Leaving the RenCen in 2025 for New HQ at Hudson’s Site in Downtown Detroit

Photo: Dan Gilbert, Chairman and Founder of Bedrock, Mary Barra, GM CEO and Chair

It’s a new dawn and it’s a new day as General Motors and Bedrock came together in partnership at Hudson’s Detroit.

GM CEO and Chair Mary Barra announced that the global automotive giant will relocate its corporate headquarters from the city’s iconic Renaissance Center skyscraper to the new Hudson’s Detroit in 2025, less than one mile away, becoming the anchor tenant at Bedrock’s development on the historic site of the former J.L. Hudson Department Store. Once GM occupies Hudson’s, it will be the company’s fourth Detroit-based headquarters since it moved to the city in 1911.

“It is an incredibly exciting day for General Motors and the city of Detroit,” shared Barra. “This is a very historic site for Detroit, and one that’s very personal to me. And it’s important to all of us at GM that we continue to call Detroit our home for a long time to come.”

The question at the forefront and on everyone’s mind, though: What will become of the RenCen and the towers that signify the city’s skyline?

“We will partner with Bedrock in the city of Detroit and Wayne County to plot a new path forward for our current home, the General Motors Renaissance center,” shared Barra. “Over the course of the next year or so, we’ll explore new ideas for the complex, including the possibilities for commercial or residential or mixed use.”

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan expressed excitement that the entities will embark on a strategic planning effort over the next year before GM’s move. During that time, GM will imagine how they will repurpose the 73-story, 727-foot-tall landmark and Michigan’s tallest building.

Photo: Mike Duggan, Mayor of Detroit

“There’s no company better at repurposing buildings than Bedrock,” Duggan said. “We’ll help GM examine all uses, and it’s exciting that we’re not doing this tomorrow. We have a year to plan the next phase.” Barra added that it’s not off the table for the company to sell if they find a suitable bidder, noting that the next tenant could come from an in-state company relocating or a company moving to Michigan from another state.

Dan Gilbert, Chairman and Founder of Bedrock, has long played a pivotal role in shaping the landscape of downtown Detroit. His early ambitions to align GM with the development of the Hudson’s site are now materializing into a tangible reality.

“From the beginning, we understood the significance of the Hudson’s to our city,” said GIlbert. “Which is why we designed it to be more than just a building. We built these buildings to be a destination celebrating Detroit’s journey over the past century and strengthening that momentum for generations to come. Most importantly, we wanted to be a place that would attract the best companies and the best talent from all over the world. Who knew we would attract the one from around the corner here?”

Barra expressed her appreciation for Gilbert’s vision.

“We’re grateful for the collaboration with a visionary like Dan, who has had such an impact on the resurgence of downtown Detroit in recent years.” She further elaborated on the synergy between GM and the Hudson’s project: “And for GM, Hudson’s Detroit is a perfect fit. We’ll be the signature tenant of the state-of-the-art building. We’ll have space to display our vehicles and host events with all the modern amenities you’ll imagine from a developer like Bedrock. It will be our corporate headquarters, our nerve center, and a collaborative space for our employees.”

Governor Gretchen Whitmer joined the excitement as she expressed, By keeping their headquarters in the heart of the Motor City, GM is showing the world that Michigan will continue driving the future of mobility this century too. Over the past five years, we have worked together to secure more than 37,000 auto jobs in Michigan, including several new battery plants and revitalized production lines across the state. GM’s decision today builds on our momentum. Let’s keep building up Detroit and betting on Michigan.”

GM has a very long history in Detroit, having been its global headquarters for more than a century, and this is their fourth headquarters here, starting with the very first one on Woodward Avenue between Ford and Congress. Barra said their return to Woodward Avenue “…clearly shows our commitment to our hometown.”

During the mid-1990s, GM moved into the Rennaissance Center in a move that was orchestrated by then-head of GM real estate Matt Cullen, who currently serves as Chairman of both JACK Entertainment and the Detroit Riverfront Conservancy, and was formerly the CEO of Bedrock.

“Since then, we’ve put more than $1 billion dollars into it and the riverfront,” shared Barra. GM has secured a 15-year, multi-tiered lease agreement that includes the upper-office floors of the Hudson’s Detroit site, blending its ingrained legacy with the modern vibrancy of the city’s evolving downtown area.

The Hudson’s building, rising on the historical footprint of the former J.L. Hudson’s Department Store, now stands as Detroit’s second tallest edifice. After long searching for an anchor tenant for its expansive 1.5 million-square-foot footprint, Bedrock will now search for other tenants to occupy the retail, restaurant, and other office spaces. The confirmed move by GM marks a significant win for the building and the development company, and a notable shift in Detroit’s corporate landscape.

Barra and Duggan said that the number of daily employees that will work from the Hudson’s site is yet to be determined, but that the company will examine workplace and office trends and the needs of the organization to make that determination in the future.

Additionally, there were no comments about whether GM would receive any tax incentives and abatements as part of the move. Two years ago in summer 2022, by a narrow 5-4 vote, Detroit’s city council approved Gilbert’s request for a $60 million tax abatement for the project. The approved abatements were a hotly contested issue by residents, many of whom expressed outrage over the billionaire developer getting tax breaks.

Wayne County Executive Warren C. Evans, who spoke at the event, said he was excited about the announcement, noting that GM could’ve chosen anywhere in the world to move, but this is clearly a win for the city, the state, and the region. 

Photo: Warren C. Evans, Wayne County Executive

“Hudson’s Detroit marks a significant development in the city and returns an iconic name back to where it belongs. GM, meanwhile, is already building EVs at its Factory ZERO plant, located here in Detroit. I am equally excited to see what these two great companies imagine when it comes to the future redevelopment of the Renaissance Center,” said Evans.

“As Detroit and Wayne County continue to drive global growth, knowing that General Motors is committed to staying in the area is reassuring and signals the automaker’s desire and commitment to continue working together to improve our region’s long-term growth and sustainability,” Evans continued. “As businesses invest in their community, the community grows and becomes healthier. The principle of shared value lies at the very heart of economic success. We’re excited that General Motors will remain downtown and move its world headquarters into this landmark development, appropriately named Hudson’s Detroit.”

Photo: David Massaron, GM Head of Economic Development, Real Estate

Since acquiring the RenCen in 1996, GM has increasingly streamlined its need for space within the complex. The company now occupies approximately one-and-a-half of the RenCen’s seven towers. This downsize is reflected in the visibly diminished pedestrian traffic within the complex, a trend exacerbated by the pandemic’s impact on office cultures globally. The shift towards remote and hybrid work models has notably decreased GM’s spatial requirements.

Historically, the RenCen has been a symbol of Detroit’s economic fluctuations and revitalization efforts. The complex suffered notably during the pandemic, which crippled office occupancy rates across the region. Despite this, GM has not expressed concrete intentions for future uses after the relocation.

This move follows a broader trend of corporate reevaluation of office space usage, driven by evolving work habits and economic efficiencies, and most importantly, the transformation of the city we call home — Detroit. Notably, GM’s product development and engineering teams are already stationed north of the city at a modernized 1950s technical center in Warren.

As Detroit continues to reshape its identity in the post-industrial era, the relocation of GM’s headquarters from the RenCen to the Hudson’s site symbolizes not just a change of address, but a deeper realignment with contemporary corporate and urban landscapes. The recent announcement by Barra and Gilbert is not just a corporate logistics update, but a significant chapter in Detroit’s storied relationship with its most influential industrial entities.

“Hudson’s Detroit will serve as a symbolic era of optimism and progress that I am confident will last for decades to come,” expressed Gilbert. “I can’t think of a better organization to help define the new legacy of Hudson’s as General Motors continues to shape the way the world moves directly from Woodward Avenue in downtown Detroit.”

Barra added: “Our new headquarters will provide collaboration areas for our teams, executive offices, and display space for our vehicles. Dan Gilbert and Bedrock have done so much to make downtown Detroit a great place to live, work and visit. We are thrilled to be a significant part of the historic Hudson’s project and also look forward to working with them to explore new ideas and opportunities for the Renaissance Center site and the riverfront.”

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