5/20/2019 | 1 MINUTE READ

Report: GM Pondered Selling its Detroit HQ Last Year

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General Motors Co. conducted exploratory talks in 2018 with Michigan business tycoon Dan Gilbert about buying GM’s Detroit headquarters.

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General Motors Co. conducted exploratory talks in 2018 with Michigan business tycoon Dan Gilbert about buying GM’s Detroit headquarters.

But the discussion quickly stalled, reports Automotive News and its sister publication Crain’s Detroit Business. They say Gilbert, a co-founder of mortgage lending company Quicken Loans, balked at the cost of renovating the seven-tower complex, known originally as the Renaissance Center and now rebranded as GMRenCen.

The Ren Cen, whose first phase opened in 1977, was financed by Ford Motor Co. GM bought the facility in 1996 and completed a $500 million renovation eight years later. The center, which has its own postal zip code, totals nearly 5.6 million sq ft.

Gilbert already owns more than 100 buildings represnting some 15 million square feet of floorspace in the metro Detroit area. Most of his properties, along with Quicken’s headquarters, are downtown.

AN and CDB say General Motors wanted to explore a sale of the facility, presumably with a lease-back option, as a way to cut costs and raise cash. GM and Gilbert’s Bedrock Detroit LLC commercial real estate company, declined to verify the talks.

GM previously considered selling the complex ahead of its bankruptcy in 2009. But it nixed the idea because of the damaging effect it would have had on downtown Detroit, according to the AN-CDB report.


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