NEW YORK – General Motors will house its headquarters in its seven-building office tower complex in downtown Detroit, its CEO says.
In an interview with The Associated Press, Mary Barra said the automaker’s head office would remain at the Renaissance Center, the centerpiece of the city skyline across the Detroit River from Canada.
“Our headquarters will always be in Detroit, in Rensen,” she said, using the name given to the campus by locals. “Right now the plan is for it to be in the Renaissance Center. That is our home,” she said.
Bara justified her comment and said that she cannot predict what will happen in five, 10 or 15 years.
She also said that the company will have to address the needs of its space now that many white-collar workers are staying at home for most of the work week on hybrid home-and-office schedules.
The company takes about 1 1/2 of Rensen’s towers, which have seen low pedestrian numbers over the years. Most of GM’s workforce, including product development and engineering, is located north of downtown in an updated 1950s tech center in suburban Warren. After GM’s 2009 bankruptcy, the company considered relocating headquarters there.
“As we move to a hybrid work structure, we’ll have to see what’s in the right place,” Barra said.
GM is still evaluating whether the hybrid model is viable for people who can do their jobs remotely. Like many CEOs, Barra wonders whether working from home will still allow for collaboration and a reinvention of the corporate culture. “There are huge benefits to being in the office,” she said. “I think we have to strike the right balance of collaboration and dialogue to make sure that two, three, four, five years from now we are still maintaining the culture that we think is very important to the company. is,” she said.
He said whether hybrid work is permanent or not depends on the company and the industry. At GM, people have got used to the flexibility of working from home. Although workers are not required to be in the office at the same time every day, teams of workers do need time together, she said.
Bara also indicated that the company is exploring riverfront development opportunities along the city. The city is expanding a riverfront trail that will run from the south side of downtown to a bridge that connects to an island park called Belle Isle.
“I think Riverfront is a gem,” Barra said, “the Riverwalk keeps getting voted as one of the best in the country. So if there are opportunities we can improve that area and be right for the city.” If we can work, we will.”
The Renaissance Center was built by Henry Ford II, who formed a coalition in the 1970s in an effort to rejuvenate the city of Detroit. GM purchased and renovated the campus in 1996, moving its headquarters there from an area north of the city.
This story has been corrected to show that General Motors purchased the regenerative center in 1996.