A lot of history behind this complex. One of America’s post-1970 inceptions that made its way into the 21st century. Originally conceived by Henry Ford II, the Renaissance Center, or “Ren-Cen” as us Detroiters eloquently call it, has been an icon of Detroit’s riverfront for 35 years. Breaking ground in 1971, with the first five towers completed in 1977, and the following two towers to the east completed in 1981. Originally, there were supposed to be two towers of the same dimensions to the west, but those plans have never materialized. The Marriott Hotel (formerly The Westin Hotel), the cylindrical skyscraper that sets between towers 100 through 400, has a twin located in Atlanta called The Peachtree, though built one year earlier prior to the one here up north in the Midwest.
Like I said, there’s a lot of history in this seven-tower plaza. The former home from home of Ford Motor Company has become the global headquarters for General Motors in 1998. Which, within a 15-year period has helped to revitalize the shores of Motown. Since then, more happenings in the downtown area has flourished. Some old theaters were either razed, remodeled, converted into either lofts, restaurants, or businesses of some sort. This past decade, we were thrilled (and privileged) to have two new stadiums within walking distance of one another, we’ve hosted a Super Bowl, Compuware has relocated their headquarters downtown, and more businesses have moved downtown, and more recently Blue Cross and Blue Shield have moved into Towers 500 and 600. Even high-end restaurants have made the Ren-Cen their home (too many to name right now), and one major feature in recent years that make the Ren-Cen stand out, is that all seven towers have illuminating bands as well as three LCD squares atop the Marriott Hotel that feature various items or occasions, i.e. the sports teams of Detroit, GM’s global brands, various color ribbons for a specific month, or whatever the case may be. And of course, the famous Coach Insiginia located at the 72nd, and 73rd floor of the Marriott. The prices are reasonable (as far as I know), and the views of Detroit are stupendous! Especially at night.
The only major drawback is that the current penthouse restaurant was formerly known as “The Summit”. And what made it stand out at the time was that it had a rotating floor, and sometimes the patrons had control over whether they wanted the floor to spin or not. There were metal plates that adjoined at every other distance around the circle that if you were to step on one, the floor would rotate. That was fun. I went there on the night of my high school graduation. That was 20 years ago. Still have fond memories of it.
Say what you want about Detroit, but this crown jewel has seen a lot within the past 40 years!