On April 15, 1977, the formal dedication the Detroit Renaissance Center, the gleaming cluster of four 39-floor office towers and a 73-story hotel, was held.
In 1996, General Motors bought the Center and announced major renovation plans — the removal of the berms at the top of the list. Other changes to what became GM World Headquarters, such as the five-story Wintergarden and a glass entry, opened the skyscraper’s face to downtown.
Has Henry Ford II’s vision for revitalization finally come to fruition at the hands of GM? Or has downtown’s recent resurgence, led largely by another business titan, Quicken CEO Dan Gilbert, benefited the complex? Whatever the answer, the newly illuminated GM RenCen has become synonymous with Detroit, a photo-op image for the country as seen from the Goodyear Blimp and an anchor for the RiverWalk and summer activities along the international border.
At any rate, the central tower, the Detroit Marriott at the Renaissance Center, is the tallest all-hotel skyscraper in the Western Hemisphere, and features the largest rooftop restaurant, Coach Insignia. It has been the tallest building in Michigan since it was erected in 1977.
For the full article, see Mark Kurlyandchik, "GM Renaissance Center Celebrates 35 Years", Hour Detroit, April 2012.