Tag Archives: Renaissance Center

An Employee’s Guide to the GM Renaissance Center

We’ve all been there. You’re sitting on your couch, watching TV, and b-roll of Detroit scenery flashes across your screen. The General Motors Renaissance Center is front and center in most of these images. “That’s Detroit!” you say either out loud or in your head…but how many of you have actually stepped foot inside this Detroit staple?

GM Renaissance Center

In preparation of this blog post, we decided it would be beneficial for me to take the official GM Renaissance Center tour. My tour had a family from Iowa, Grand Rapids, and Nova Scotia. The Nova Scotians traveled 25 hours JUST to visit Detroit!

While touring, I learned some of the basic facts. The Renaissance Center first opened its doors in 1976 with just one tower functioning – Tower 100. In 1977, the three other towers – 200, 300, and 400 – were opened. Franco Public Relations Group was lucky enough to become one of its first tenants shortly after that, and we have stayed ever since. It wasn’t until 1996 that General Motors decided to make the Renaissance Center its world headquarters. They quickly made some changes to the building, adding the Wintergarden, and level two, the circulation ring.

Ren Cen 100

The GM Renaissance Center is broken up into four levels. The first is level A; my favorite. It’s home to the massive food court, the Wintergarden, RenCen Fitness, Andiamo Detroit Riverfront, and of course the General Motors show room. The show room is in the middle of it all, almost as the building’s main event. You can see it from all levels.

I call level one the main floor. It’s where you will find the Marriott lobby, and its elevators.  Circulating level one is a brick paved inner circle that allows you to easily access all the stores and restaurants. Joe Muer, Pure Detroit, Potbelly, Verizon Wireless, and a PR pro’s best friend, Starbucks, all take shop on level one.

Level two is the circulation ring, creating a path to each tower’s main entrance and their visitor’s desk, which allows you to enter offices in their respected tower. Also on level two is a CVS, a post office, the skywalk to the Millender Center, and access to the Detroit People Mover.

Wondering how to get to the highly regarded restaurant, Coach Insignia? Take the glass elevator located on level three, all the way to the top floor, level 77. From there, you can see the entire view of the city, and it is nothing short of breath taking.

Yearning to know more? Here are my recommendations: Take a tour of the building, it’s completely free of charge, and you’ll learn so many interesting facts. Renaissance Center tours are offered at noon and 2 p.m. right outside of the Pure Detroit store. If touring isn’t your thing, then take a walk; get lost in the building! Or next time you’re visiting Franco Public Relations Group, let me know you would like a grand tour! There’s nothing I love more than showing people around.

Have you toured, or gotten lost in the Renaissance Center?  What cool or interesting facts did you learn when you visited? Share your thoughts in the comment section below!

Laura Skimin is an administrative coordinator at Franco Public Relations Group.

Surprises Learned from Working in the GM Renaissance Center

The GM Renaissance Center is big – it’s the largest building in the City of Detroit, is headquarters to one of the world’s largest automakers, houses a number of other businesses (including Franco Public Relations Group) and has more than 11,000 employees pass in and out of its doors every day. There are a few things I’ve discovered since I started working here in August 2011.

I remember being excited about the prestige of working in one of Detroit’s iconic buildings. I also remember being concerned about the size of the building and the number of people here and how that would affect my commute.  A big concern was the time it would take to get from my car up to the tenth floor of the 400 tower. I was really grateful when I discovered how efficient the building is for tenants – we have special access to elevators and can make it in the building and upstairs in about five minutes.

It’s like a small village. From shops, banks, restaurants, bars, clinics, daycare facilities, a salon and a post office – and, should you want to explore the city – there’s a People Mover Station and great spots like Greektown and Campus Martius are a short walk away. You also never know who you run into – I have bumped into a number of friends and relatives who work here. People I see regularly and others who I haven’t seen in years.

And when you need a break there are lots of places to discover inside and outside the building. From an ice cream break in the Wintergarden to the Riverwalk; both are an excellent way to take a few minutes away from your desk.

Have you worked in the GM Renaissance Center? What surprised you most about the building?

Ann Marie Fortunate is a senior account executive at Franco Public Relations Group.  You can reach her at (313) 567-5040 or fortunate@franco.com.  Follow her on Twitter @AMFortunate.


Making it permanent – My experiences transitioning from intern to employee

Coming to Franco last September as an intern, I was happy to hit the ground running. Just after the Labor Day weekend, I was introduced to my colleagues as they hurried around the office, catching up from the weekend and running through their to-do lists. After getting set up and acquainted with the office and the maze of the GM Renaissance Center, I was pulled in to learn about a few projects that I would be supporting throughout my internship.

The first week was just how I imagined life in a PR agency: busy, fast-paced and exciting. I was so happy to be a part of Franco, working on projects that have such a huge impact on the metro Detroit community. The 2012 Comerica Hatch Detroit competition was coming to a close with a fury of media attention, and The Salvation Army’s 2012 Red Kettle Campaign was in the planning stages, preparing for its November kick off.

Working on these projects, I learned valuable lessons that I use every day at Franco. Although today I work with a different client list,
many in different industries, my experience as an intern influences the way I approach every task. From improving time management to building on my writing and networking skills, I finished my internship ready for increased responsibilities and excited to officially join the amazing Franco family.

The Salvation Army Red KettleCampaign was among the first assignments I assisted with as an intern atFranco. Former Red Wing Kirk Maltby and announcer Ken Kal helped out during abell ringing competition with other Red Wings alumni and staff.

Today, long after both Hatch and the Red Kettle campaign have passed (and are approaching once again), I am working as an assistant account executive and still learning new ways to better serve our clients. So much has changed in my nine months at Franco: my title, clients, tasks and a few desks. But, I can say that one thing has remained the same, my excitement to arrive every day to something new at a company that strives for excellence on all fronts, from our client work to our company culture.

Dan Horn is an assistant account executive at Franco Public Relations Group. You can reach him at (313) 567-5008 or horn@franco.com. You can also follow him on Twitter @DanHorn90.