On November 24, 1971, Henry Ford II, then chairman of the board of directors of Ford Motor Company, announced the Renaissance Center project to the Detroit Common Council. One year later, site clearance for the Center began. On July 1, 1976 the first office tower (Tower 100) was opened. A formal dedication was held on April 15, 1977 for the four, 39-floor office towers and the 73-story hotel.
Renaissance Center Phase II, Towers 500 and 600, was opened in 1981, as a separate venture developed by subsidiaries of Ford Motor Land Development Corporation and Rockefeller Center, Inc. and purchased by ANR Ren-Cen, Inc. in 1984.
On May 16, 1996, General Motors announced the purchase of the Renaissance Center for use as its global headquarters and later announced a $500 million renovation of the Center. The GM Renaissance Center is now home to more than 5,000 GM workers and 4,000 Center tenant employees.
The total square footage of the GM Renaissance Center is 5.5 million. The office towers include 2.2 million square feet of space; 230,000 square feet is dedicated to retail space. The Marriott Detroit at the Renaissance Center is one of the tallest hotels in the world with 1,298 guest rooms.
Other interesting facts:
:: Construction on the Ren Cen began May 22, 1973 (Phase I).
:: Project architects were John Portman & Associates.
:: The Ren Cen has its own zip code – 48243.
:: The construction company was Tishman Construction (New York).
:: The GM Renaissance Center sits on 14 acres.
:: There are four 39-story towers (508’ high each).
:: The 73 story 1,298 room hotel (Marriott) is 726’ high and 188’ in diameter.
:: There is a 5-story glass enclosed atrium (GM Wintergarden).
:: There is a 12 ft. wide glass circulation walkway with access to all four towers (Walking around 8 times= one mile).