Encyclopedia Of Detroit

General Motors Building/Cadillac Place

The General Motors Building is a high-rise office complex located in the New Center area of Detroit. The building was constructed of steel, limestone, granite, and marble between 1919 and 1923 for General Motors. The building was designed by noted Detroit area architect, Albert Kahn.

In 1919, General Motors’ founder William C. Durant began construction on a permanent headquarters for the company on West Grand Boulevard between Cass Avenue and Second Avenue. The building was originally named after Durant but after a power struggle at General Motors in 1921, it was renamed the General Motors Building. When it opened in 1923, it was the second largest office building in the world. The building functioned as the General Motors World Headquarters from 1923 through 2000, when it moved to the Renaissance Center.

In the 1940s, the Annex of the building was connected to the adjacent Argonaut building by a pedestrian bridge on the fourth floor. This bridge has since been removed. Additionally, a parking structure was constructed across Cass Avenue, which is also connected by a pedestrian bridge. In the early 1980s, a third bridge was built to connect the building with New Center One and the St. Regis Hotel.

In 1999, the property was transferred from General Motors to New Center Development, a non-profit venture, and in 2000, renovation began on the upper floors. Renovation lasted until 2002, and upon reopening it was renamed Cadillac Place as a tribute to Detroit’s founder, Antoine Laument de la Mothe Cadillac. Presently, the building houses offices for the State of Michigan.

The building was designed by Albert Kahn in a Neo-Classical architectural style rising fifteen stories, at 220 feet tall. The façade of the building was constructed in limestone and it is crowned with a two-story Corinthian colonnade. The base of the building is two stories tall and there are four parallel fifteen-story wings that were designed to allow sunlight to reach each of the hundreds of individual offices in the building.

 


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