Monday, February 8, 2010

Not Empty Yet

Way back in May 2009 (back at the ripe age of 26), there was a bit of talk about GM moving it's headquarters out of the Renaissance Center into a few locations. After that, it seemed likely that they would keep their HQ in Detroit but move lots of people out of the Renaissance Center and into several GM locations, with most of the displaced finding new homes in the Warren Technical Center. These were actually the formally announced plans, so the most prominent building in the city of Detroit on the waterfront was about to lose about half of its occupants, thus reducing the time between now and Detroit becoming a virtual ghost town. Back in May, I wrote:

Michigan needs a healthy Detroit in its ongoing fight to change perception of Michigan as a whole. GM has put in a considerable amount of money toward this end - from massively overhauling the RenCen to funding a significant portion of the RiverWalk to bringing additional employees downtown to fill Detroit's streets and stores, and probably lots of things I can't recall off the top of my head.

While I can't recall any new things off the top of my head (very disappointing because I've had almost 9 months to think of something new) I remain quite grateful for this company's contributions to our struggling largest city. Because of this, I was borderline ecstatic from the warm confines of California last Friday when I read that through a series of bargains, tax breaks, and more than a little influence from a blog containing the words "Michigan Are Of We" in some sort of order, GM has decided to keep about 5K employees (including consultants) in the walls of the Renaissance Center. I'm sure this story isn't quite done yet, but the possibility of employee movement out of Detroit was so bothersome to me, it feels like Detroit has been granted a stay of execution, thanks to the generosity of the state and city governments, its taxpayers, and of course, the rest of the taxpayers of the U.S. for essentially providing enough funding to keep the state of Michigan from liquidating in mid 2009. This probably comes across as an exaggeration (like most everything I say - how meta), but for anyone who is a big state supporter and fan of Detroit, this would have been very tough from which to recover.

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