By on November 17, 2009

Twilight in Valhalla (courtesy: MLive)

The Freep is reporting that GM’s Renaissance Center headquarters could be at risk if so-called “retention tax credits” aren’t amended. GM is consolidating more of its workforce at its Warren Technology Center, and 1,500 of the RenCen’s 4,000 GM workers are reportedly making the move out of downtown. The remaining 2,500 workers would stay only if a Michigan Economic Growth Authority “retention” tax credit makes it worthwhile. The necessary amendments to this tax credit have been made, but MEGA still has to approve the package. A memo to the Growth Authority reveals the stakes:

2,500 is the maximum that they can also take for this portion of the credit. General Motors has submitted an application stating that the headquarters is at risk without this credit.

GM’s CEO Fritz Henderson adds:

We’ll have some people move from the Renaissance Center to the Warren Tech Center, but the Renaissance Center will still maintain a very sizable presence and this will be our headquarters

As long as the state of Michigan makes it worth GM’s while, anyway. But Michigan is hardly united in its desire to prevent the building named for unflagging optimism in Detroit’s future from becoming an ironically-named, abandoned husk. Warren Mayor Jim Fout tells MLive:

Let them keep Fritz Henderson and his secretary and his board down at the Renaissance Center and they can call that their world headquarters. But ultimately, everything else is coming to Warren. It makes no sense for them to stay at the Ren Cen. If they are going to survive, they are going to have to consolidate.

Car czarlet Steve Rattner recently laid into GM’s culture of executive arrogance, pointing out that top executives had a private elevator that whisked them from their private garages to the top of the RenCen, insulating them from their firm’s realities. Imagine what might happen if top executives were further insulated by being the only GM employees to occupy the RenCen. The mind boggles.

Get the latest TTAC e-Newsletter!

22 Comments on “GM: Give Us Tax Credits Or We’ll Lose The RenCen...”


  • avatar
    50merc

    It’s extortion. “Give us money or we’ll kill this building!”
    The RenCen was conceived as a step toward revival of the riot-torn city, and Henry the Deuce gave it the support needed to get it built. Meanwhile, market forces and people’s preferences continued to evacuate Detroit. Sweeping back the sea.

  • avatar
    threeer

    Detroit’s newest homeless shelter perhaps??

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    If Detroit’s smart, it’ll just do the tax credit – 2,500 people do a lot of shopping and eating downtown. They don’t need their central business district to become more of a ghost town than it already is.

  • avatar
    vww12

    Incredibly, Detroit still runs its people mover, where the 7,000 daily users pay $0.50 and the city pays an additional $5.00 per rider.  No kidding.
    Why would other people in Michigan want to keep subsidizing such an obviously mismanaged town, is hard to understand.

    • 0 avatar
      Geotpf

      No public transit system in the country makes a profit.  Very few make a profit world wide.  Of course, neither do freeways.

      Admittedly, Detroit’s People Mover is worse than typical in this regard.

      • 0 avatar
        moedaman

        Of course you forgot to mention that some of the taxes and fees originally intented for roads end up supporting public transit. A lose/lose proposition for taxpayers.

        As far as GM moving out of the Rencen. I think they should. Getting the top execs closer to the engineers and factories at the Tech Center might wake them up.

      • 0 avatar
        vww12

        «Of course, neither do freeways»
        Which are used by a tiny wee more than 7,000 people/day, and which are built with specific taxes on driving, such as the gasoline tax.
        Show me a tax on mass transportation ridership, and then we’ll compare those two on equal footing.

        • 0 avatar
          M1EK

          You’re dead wrong – the gas tax doesn’t even come close to paying for all roads – not even all major arterials. Recent example from Texas showed $0.16 on the dollar; figures in other states vary depending on how much state funds gets spent on city-maintained arterials, but it’s never remotely close to $1.

  • avatar
    wmba

    Good Lord, they can’t afford the head office rent (or is it the mortgage?) without subsidy, but are shouldering the burden of Opel on their (our) backs.

    Thanks, new GM, for watching the pennies on our behalf.

  • avatar
    superbadd75

    So let me get this straight, GM has already taken upwards of $50 billion in tax money from the Feds (our pockets), and that’s not enough to keep their plush offices in downtown Detroit, so they want the state of Michigan —who probably already gives GM millions in tax breaks already— to give them even more money in the form of tax credits? The bleeding has got to stop somewhere. GM needs to be told to pound sand, and maybe the Government can find a good use for the empty building. This has got to end somewhere, and it would do GM’s execs good to be humbled and see how real people make their money. If Fritz and the rest of the gang were forced to park their cars outside in a surface parking lot and walk in through the front doors on the way to their offices, just like the rest of the working stiffs, maybe they’d learn a little something. While we’re at it, make them drive Cobalts and Aveos picked from dealer lots so they can see what kind of shit they’re trying to sell to Americans. Maybe then they’d start making cars that will keep the company alive.

  • avatar
    kkt

    So move out of the Ren Cen.  It would improve their corporate culture not to be in a premium landmark high-rise.
     

  • avatar
    alfred p. sloan

    Too bad, best looking building in Detroit.

  • avatar
    ClutchCarGo

    “Everybody does what we say and nobody gets hurt!”

  • avatar
    porschespeed

    To whom are they gonna lose it?

    It’s not as though the birds and squirrels have a shortage of available abandoned residential…

  • avatar
    derm81

    Having worked in Detroit and the RenCen as well as the Gm Tech Center, I can give a good insider view. I think the only reason they want to stay or have any presence in the CITY of Detroit is because it is mainly a symbolic gesture. The Tech Center is 4 miles north of the city limits so it isn’t a big thing. PLUS, the Tech Center is farking huge. It is over a square mile full of offices and labs. It isn’t just one building on Main Street somewhere. PLUS, GM poured millions into the RenCen’s renovation and the office space is actually quite nice and the RenCen is centrally located when you look at the geographic area.
    Car czarlet Steve Rattner recently laid into GM’s culture of executive arrogance, pointing out that top executives had a private elevator that whisked them from their private garages to the top of the RenCen

    That is bullshit. I rode the same elevator is Rick Wagoner on several occasions during my brief stay down there. There is a security guard guarding that specific bank of maybe 4 elevators in the blue tower. However, maybe from the parking garage it is private because the garage is usually off limits BUT from the main lobby, anyone could ride those elevators with a GM badge.

  • avatar
    ZoomZoom

    “If Detroit’s smart, it’ll just do the tax credit – 2,500 people do a lot of shopping and eating downtown. They don’t need their central business district to become more of a ghost town than it already is.”
    Oh please.  I don’t even live in Michigan, let alone Detroit.  They’ve already taken my money at the point of a gun and given it to the least responsible amongst us.  It’s immoral what they’ve done, so leave me alone, please; I already gave at the office.  And at home.  And at the gas pump.  I can’t afford it anymore!

    How long until we’re bailing out Detroit along with GM?  Will somebody please stop the madness?  I didn’t do this, I didn’t cause it.  By paying all of my bills and by paying all of my taxes, I’m feeling more and more enslaved.  I want my money back and I want my liberty back.

    • 0 avatar
      superbadd75

      +1,000. Brilliant, sir. Simply brilliant.

    • 0 avatar
      Detroit Todd

      They’ve already taken my money at the point of a gun and given it to the least responsible amongst us.  It’s immoral what they’ve done, so leave me alone, please; I already gave at the office.  And at home.  And at the gas pump.  I can’t afford it anymore!
      How long until we’re bailing out Detroit along with GM? 

      Who pulled a gun on you?  Where?

      While we’re at it, I want the trillions back that were thrown away on Wall Street, and the disasterous, unnecessary war in Iraq. 

      But, unfortunately, people don’t get to direct their individual tax dollars where they would like. 

  • avatar
    porschespeed

    They need to be put in a 600 sq.ft.  cinderblock office in the middle of a faceless industrial park.  And that’s far more than they have earned.

    They want to keep their shiny glass strap-on as long as possible. Sooner or later they’re gonna be standing in the high-school showers truly naked facing the competition.

    Pointing and laughter will ensue…

  • avatar
    derm81

    “If Detroit’s smart, it’ll just do the tax credit – 2,500 people do a lot of shopping and eating downtown.

    Not so true. Most people in the RenCen usually stay within the RenCen since there are a lot of eateries and shops available. MAYBE on a friday people will hit up Greektown for some gyros, but that is it.

  • avatar
    50merc

    porschespeed, you left me laughing. Shiny glass strap-on, indeed.
    Wal-Mart puts its executives in a building that looks like a SuperCenter except it’s not as glamorous. And that’s not the only difference between GM and Wal-Mart. The hicks in Arkansas make a profit.


Back to TopLeave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Subscribe without commenting

Recent Comments

New Car Research

Get a Free Dealer Quote

Staff

  • Authors

  • Brendan McAleer, Canada
  • Marcelo De Vasconcellos, Brazil
  • Matthias Gasnier, Australia
  • J & J Sutherland, Canada
  • Tycho de Feyter, China
  • W. Christian 'Mental' Ward, Abu Dhabi
  • Mark Stevenson, Canada
  • Faisal Ali Khan, India