Accenture opens new corporate office in Detroit's downtown

Jennifer Chambers
The Detroit News
Following a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new Accenture Detroit office, Accenture employee Carlos Shows, standing in the foreground, prepares to give a demonstration to visitors.

Detroit — Accenture is back in downtown Detroit, officially opening its new local corporate office on Friday in a 10,000-square-foot space inside the 1001 Woodward building.

"Michigan may be known for producing vehicles. We believe Michigan will also be known for bringing technology and innovation to the world," said Pallavi Verma, Accenture's senior managing director in the Midwest, on Friday inside the new corporate office.

Accenture, a global management consulting and professional services firm in Michigan for 65 years, has about 870 employees locally. It previously held corporate space in Southfield but also maintains a facility in Livonia.

The new Detroit office, complete with open and collaborative meeting spaces overlooking Campus Martius, is for employee use when they are not off-site or at their clients' businesses, company officials said.

This is a work area inside the new Accenture office in downtown Detroit.

Accenture is the latest company to move employees to Detroit from the suburbs, a reversal of the capital and jobs flow that typically has favored the suburbs for the past three decades.

Microsoft recently moved 400 employees from Southfield to its new downtown location, Tata Technologies announced it was moving 150 people from Novi to Detroit's TechTown and Google bolted Birmingham for Detroit.

Dan Garrison, Accenture managing director in Detroit, said on Friday the company was located in downtown Detroit in 1997 when he first joined the business. A visit to Detroit last year motivated company officials to return.

"We were inspired by what was happening in Detroit," Garrison said. "It was visible that this was a different city, and a city we wanted to be more a part of."

Moving downtown gives the company the opportunity to work with start-ups and many of its clients, Garrison said, as well as community organizations.

"Part of us moving downtown and bringing this space to life is to retain the incredible talent we have and tap into the talent Detroit has to offer, talent that is hungry, imaginative, creative, that perseveres," Garrison said.

Accenture works with companies across industries, including 95 of the Fortune 100 companies. Its 200 new jobs will focus on high-growth areas such as digital, cloud and security services. A majority of jobs will work from the company’s new regional office at 1001 Woodward Ave.

The company works in cloud computing, quantum computing, cyber-security, blockchain and artificial intelligence, Garrison said.

"Accenture believes Detroit has the DNA to become known as the Silicon Valley of the Midwest, and we want to be here to write those future chapters of Detroit's history," he said.

The company is also doubling its Metro Detroit apprenticeship program with Grand Circus, an organization that offers coding and digital skills courses. Accenture currently has seven apprentices.

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan and U.S. Sen. Gary Peters, D-Bloomfield Township, attended the ribbon cutting Friday along with several dozen company employees and visitors.

Duggan praised the opening of Accenture's downtown office, saying the company is not just dropping into town and renting office space.

"They are totally plugged into the apprenticeship programs creating opportunities for Detroiters," he said.

Peters said Detroit was the center of growth in the 20th century with mass production.

"Now you combine that with tech and companies like Accenture that are here, Detroit once again will be that epicenter of growth into the 21st century," Peters said.

Just a few months ago, the company also opened a state-of-the-art Industry X.0 Innovation Center in Livonia and announced the addition of 200 new, local highly skilled tech jobs by the end of 2020.

The Livonia hub combines a design lab with a demonstration center to aid its clients with data security, blockchain, artificial intelligence, predictive analysis and more.

Staff Writer Breana Noble contributed.