Ally Financial Inc. may relocate its headquarters from downtown Detroit to Southfield or another location in Metro Detroit.
The auto lender and bank holding company — formerly General Motors Co.’s wholly owned captive finance and mortgage unit GMAC — remains based near its former parent at the Renaissance Center in Detroit.
Ally has about 700 people working in Detroit, along with 300 at the Southfield Town Center and Galleria in addition to employees in Troy and Auburn Hills.
“The company currently has five separate facilities across Southeast Michigan, and several of those locations have leases expiring next year,” spokeswoman Gina Proia said. “With that in mind, Ally has implemented a diligent process to evaluate facilities in the Southeast Michigan area that can best accommodate our needs.”
Crain’s Detroit reported in June that Ally could move into 300,000 to 350,000 square feet at the 2.2-million-square foot Southfield Town Center office complex. Proia said the company’s review of possible locations is ongoing.
The Transwestern real estate firm is leasing space for the Southfield Town Center. A listing on Transwestern’s website says there is 629,682 square feet of Class A office space at the five-building office complex located near the Lodge freeway. Space is available from 500 square feet to 350,000, according to a listing. Messages were left seeking comment.
Proia said a potential move has nothing to do with the fact that Obama administration last month sold its final 11.4 percent stake in the company as part of its $17.2 billion auto bailout. Proia said the company’s review of its office space began before the exit.
Steve Morris, managing principal with Axis Advisors Inc., a real estate services company in Farmington Hills, said it would make sense for Ally to relocate its headquarters from the Renaissance Center.
“They want to consolidate,” said Morris, who is not representing Ally. “They’ve got five other offices around. It’s more efficient to have all the offices under one roof.”
Morris, who also is a lecturer at the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business, said he has been briefed that Ally is looking for about 300,000 square feet of space and may be close to signing with the Southfield Town Center.
If Ally were to leave the Renaissance Center and Detroit, it would not have the high cost of parking and would not have to pay the city’s income tax. Morris said the city of Southfield has been very active in working with companies and offering incentive packages to businesses to locate in the city.
A city of Southfield spokesman had no comment when asked if the city is in negotiations or discussions about incentives or tax abatements with Ally Financial.
Southfield has been aggressive in trying to woo businesses to locate — including from Detroit. In November, the city of Southfield approved tax abatements for Covisint Corp. to move from Detroit to Southfield’s Travelers Tower II. The company plans to invest about $5.5 million to occupy 50,000 square feet.
Covisint will relocate more than 250 employees from Detroit to its new Southfield facility and will hire an additional 50 full-time employees over the next three years. It chose Southfield over locations out of state.
Thr Michigan Economic Development Corp. in November agreed to a grant of $1.5 million to support the project. Covisint is a business-to-business information cloud company.
Proia said any move wouldn’t be a result of Ally’s relationship with its former parent GM. GM is moving discounted lease incentives for its Cadillac, Buick and GMC brands to GM Financial from Ally Financial in the coming months.
“We’re still going to work with GM and GM dealers,” he said.
At one point the government owned a 74 percent majority stake in Ally. In 2011, the Treasury put its planned Ally IPO on hold because of investor concern about ResCap.
Ally completed a bankruptcy restructuring of ResCap in 2013. ResCap had $17 billion in losses in the years before the bankruptcy after the company made tens of thousands of bad home loans.
In December, Ally agreed to pay $98 million to settle claims it discriminated against more than 235,000 minority auto buyers, marking the federal government's largest auto loan discrimination settlement in history.