Dark Ages at the Renaissance Center, Detroit

Yesterday’s news about GM cutting 21,000 more jobs and killing the Pontiac brand evoked nostalgia and some mixed feelings. So this is a photo-sequel to my almost two year old post about life in Detroit.

Detroit Renaissance Center 3

Detroit Renaissance Center 1

Detroit Renaissance Center Superbowl 1


Detroit RenCen

For two years, I lived, worked, breathed, ate, and slept in the shadow of this landmark. General Motors World Headquarters, the Renaissance Center, affectionately known as ‘RenCen’. RenCen is one of the world’s largest office complexes, totaling 5,500,000 square feet. It is so confusing inside for newcomers, that I had made a PowerPoint presentation for guiding our new team members.

The red monorail is the ‘People Mover’ – a public transport system in downtown ‘World Auto Capital’ Detroit.




Detroit PeopleMover          Moon over Detroit      Detroit Downtown

These are views from my apartment window.

Detroit Hard Rock Cafe   Detroit Parking Lot   Christmas Tree

A few snaps of Detroit downtown at night. Just like the darkness of the night, and unlike the men of the Renaissance Era who brought the light of reason in our lives, GM’s Rencen is headed back to the Dark Ages.


18 thoughts on “Dark Ages at the Renaissance Center, Detroit

  1. Thanks! I don’t think Detroit is going to survive, in any real sense. And I doubt if there will be any takers for GM. GM China, GM India yes, maybe, but GM US has no value to offer, me thinks.

  2. What’s with the numbers? Didn’t get it.

    Yup, this one had lots of memorabilia as well, cool atmosphere, good food, and great bar menu.

  3. Apart from short trips, I’ve had two long stints at Detroit and in the Bay Area…

    They’re really massive up close. You really feel them with you, behind you, anywhere you are in downtown Detroit.

  4. You seem to have traveled a lot Mahendra and had an interesting life! Pune is where you have homed in now finally and that is the right choice! So hey traveler, restaurant owner, writer, blogger, would-be tabla player, you are on the right path! 🙂

  5. Oh, thanks for the nice-sounding adjectives that make me feel as if I’m a special person! However, I always like to remind myself that I’m just playing with pebbles on the beach…:-)

    As I mentioned earlier to Priyank, I’ve no plans of playing the tabla. I hope I’ll learn the keyboard, after I’m able to start learning it in the presence of my 2-yr old, who’s as crazy about music as me!

  6. Mahendra

    Unless the $ 3T budget can be expanded further to finance the building of a public transport infrastructure, the huge size of America means that Americans will always drive cars. No option but that Detroit cleans up (pun intended) its act. Tesla can hardly provide all of America with cars. :-/ (Yes I know they have a choice of Japanese and a smaller number of European marques but they will have millions unemployed too.)

  7. Shefaly, jobs are the only reason GM is being bailed out. Jobs are the only value they currently possess and the Govt can’t afford to have so many unemployed on its hands.

    But I’m skeptical of how much cleaning up GM is going to be able to do. A bankruptcy doesn’t seem unlikely.

  8. Mahendra

    Knowing the realpolitik of jobs, it is worth asking if there will be a Hoover Dam equivalent in the car industry (minus the nasties).

  9. Don’t think so. Rather than a mega-project requiring lots of manual labor, auto industry seems to be moving in the ‘Nano’ direction!

  10. Memories! Where were you in Detroit? We were in Auburn Hills for a couple years ’02-’05 🙂

    Wonderful shots!


  11. Detroit is an interesting case
    for years they have been supported by govts indirect largess like taxing imported cars etc
    – monsters esp GM and Chrysler producing cars that people dont want to buy
    They have to go bankrupt! because no one wants to accept cutbacks or restructuring
    Its an unholy mix of political patronage and protectionism, big pay ceos and hard bargaining UAW.

    Chrysler is already declaring bankruptcy , and tying up with the giant fiat. Whats ur opinion?

    BTW these are lovely pictures

  12. Hmm…small world. While most of my team was in Madison Heights/Auburn Hills/Troy, I was the sole iconoclast staying in downtown, right opposite RenCen! From mid-04 to mid-06. 🙂

    Since you were there, you would understand how RenCen dominates downtown Detroit…

  13. Prax, no opinions at present. Just feelings, since life at GM was a personal experience for me….

    Happy that you enjoyed the pictures!

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