Skip to main content
Bridge Michigan
Michigan’s nonpartisan, nonprofit news source

GM to exit RenCen, relocate to Hudson’s site that has received big tax breaks

The Renaissance Center in Detroit opened in 1976 and has been headquarters of General Motors for nearly 30 years. (Shutterstock photo by Bryan Pollard)
  • General Motors will relocate its headquarters in 2025 from the Renaissance Center in downtown Detroit to the nearby Hudson’s building
  • The automaker has operated out of the Renaissance Center since 1996
  • GM is moving into a building under construction by Bedrock that has received more than $200 million in tax incentives and breaks

General Motors Corp. plans to relocate its global headquarters next year from the Renaissance Center on Detroit’s waterfront to a nearby skyscraper that developer Bedrock is building on the site of the former J.L. Hudson department store. 

“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,” said GM CEO Mary Barra during a Monday announcement.

“It will be our corporate headquarters, our nerve center and a collaborative space for our employees, and it's located in the heart of downtown on an important historic site that Detroiters hold dear.” 

Related: Bedrock seeks 10-year tax break on $1.4B project at old Hudson’s site

Barra said, over the next year, the company will explore new ideas for the Renaissance Center that may include commercial or residential use. 

The 1.5 million-square-foot Hudson’s site is on Woodward Avenue. The 681-foot skyscraper is the second-tallest building in the city, after the central tower of the Renaissance Center. 

Barton Malow, contractor for Bedrock, the real estate firm owned by billionaire mortgage mogul Dan Gilbert, held a topping-off ceremony for the building last week. The real estate firm broke ground on the project in 2017.  

The Hudson’s project was projected to cost $900 million, but construction delays and redesigns increased the cost to $1.5 billion. 

The project has received a series of tax breaks and incentives from state and local officials, including a 10-year tax break worth $60 million in 2022. The site also qualified for a “transformational brownfield” tax capture estimated to total nearly $200 million for Bedrock through 2052.

“From the beginning, we understood the significance of the Hudson’s to our city, which is why we designed it to be more than just a building,” said Gilbert.  “We built these buildings to be a destination celebrating Detroit over the past century, and strengthening that momentum for generations to come.”

The move prompts a host of questions for the future of the Renaissance Center, which opened in 1976. It has been GM’s global headquarters for nearly 30 years after the automaker purchased five of the seven towers in 1996 for $73 million, according to the Detroit Historical Society

Bedrock had looked into purchasing the seven-tower complex in 2018, but the costly renovations, including a complete revamp of the heating, venting and air conditioning system, caused the firm not to go through with the deal, Crain’s Detroit Business reported

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer issued a statement Monday afternoon praising GM’s move for “keeping (its) headquarters in the heart of the Motor City” and noting a series of auto investments in Michigan battery factories in recent years.

“GM’s decision today builds on our momentum. Let’s keep building up Detroit and betting on Michigan.”

How impactful was this article for you?

Business Watch

Covering the intersection of business and policy, and informing Michigan employers and workers on the long road back from coronavirus.

Thanks to our Business Watch sponsors.

Support Bridge's nonprofit civic journalism. Donate today.

Only donate if we've informed you about important Michigan issues

See what new members are saying about why they donated to Bridge Michigan:

  • “In order for this information to be accurate and unbiased it must be underwritten by its readers, not by special interests.” - Larry S.
  • “Not many other media sources report on the topics Bridge does.” - Susan B.
  • “Your journalism is outstanding and rare these days.” - Mark S.

If you want to ensure the future of nonpartisan, nonprofit Michigan journalism, please become a member today. You, too, will be asked why you donated and maybe we'll feature your quote next time!

Pay with VISA Pay with MasterCard Pay with American Express Pay with PayPal Donate Now