GM delays angular addition, LED screen at RenCen

Melissa Burden
The Detroit News

General Motors Co. confirmed Friday it is putting on hold exterior portions of a facelift plan for its Renaissance Center headquarters, including an angular glass-walled addition and a huge LED screen covering the People Mover stop.

The automaker in early 2016 announced a plan to transform its indoor car gallery and exterior appearance including a elaborate three-story addition leaning toward Jefferson Avenue and 70-foot-by-80-foot LED screen hovering above the street. Inside, the upgrades are to include a new atrium to showcase cars and trucks.

General Motors Co. said it was planning a 120,000-square-foot renovation at the Renaissance Center headquarters, but the large LED screen over the People Mover will be on hold for now.

“We are expecting to complete the current renovations underway in the Renaissance Center, on the central space known as GM World, by the end of 2017,” the company said in an emailed statement. “We have put the exterior updates and previously planned interactive experiences on hold. We will continue to evaluate the need for additional updates to the building and make the appropriate changes to support business needs.”

GM did not elaborate on why it changed its mind or when it made its decision, but a spokeswoman said the company regularly evaluates large investments.

Confirmation of the change comes amid a slowdown in U.S. car industry sales as the GM has laid off thousands of workers across the U.S. and as car companies are taking a closer look at discretionary spending.

The interactive displays were set to include digital elements to promote GM’s brands, the company said in 2016.

The company has not said how much it is spending on the project. The change in plans was first reported by Crain’s Detroit Business.

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