Created Equal: What’s next for Detroit’s iconic RenCen building?

Detroit News reporter Kalea Hall and urban consultant Harriet Saperstein join the show to discuss the changes and the potential future of the RenCen.

RenCen Renaissance Center Downtown Detroit GM 2 6/26/2019

The Renaissance Center is a well known skyscraper in the city of Detroit, occupied by General Motors since 1996.

Now, after 28 years in the iconic building, General Motors announced the company is moving its global headquarters to the new Hudson’s Detroit development in 2025.

The automaker signed a lease to occupy the top two floors of Bedrock’s skyscraper for the next 15 years, and GM plans to transfer its staff, including those in the Warren office, to the new space.

Harriet Saperstein, an urban consultant and longtime Detroit resident and Detroit News automotive reporter Kalea Hall joined Created Equal on Wednesday to discuss the changes and the potential future of the Renaissance Center. Listeners also called in to participate in the conversation, and shared what they think should happen with the iconic building and the land on which it sits.

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Kalea Hall is an automotive reporter for the Detroit News who covers GM. After speaking with GM’s CEO Mary Barra on Tuesday about GM’s move from the RenCen, Hall said Barra is reimagining what their headquarter space looks like and wanted to stay downtown.

“I think partnering with Bedrock to try to think of what’s next for the RenCen makes sense, but Mary indicated that they are going to continue to call Detroit home, and they are proud of that,” Hall said.

Harriet Saperstein is an urban consultant, community activist, and has been a resident of Lafayette Park for 60 years. She believes the redevelopment of the Renaissance Center should incorporate more attractions to get people to visit and stay. She said the Renaissance Center is a symbol of Detroit.

“There’s lots of negative images unfortunately, and we need to reflect those positive images and make them even stronger. We need to take the history of what we had, the immigrant patterns that came in, and make them a part.”

Listen to Created Equal with host Stephen Henderson weekdays from 9-10 a.m. ET on 101.9 WDET and streaming on-demand.