The GMRENCEN is so large, 5.5 million square feet to be exact, that it has its own zip code. The size alone is a reason to want to take advantage of the free guided tours offered twice daily, Monday through Friday. Add in the continuous renovations and rich history of the building and the tour is a must-do on any visit to Detroit.
If you’re wondering what you would see and learn about during the one-hour tour, here is a small breakdown of what your tour could look like—as all tours do vary.
Meet Your Your Guide
The one-hour tour begins at the Jefferson Lobby located at the front entrance of the GMRENCEN on Level 1. Once you arrive at the front desk, preferably 10 minutes prior to the tour departure, you will sign in and meet your tour guide. This individual is a wealth of knowledge about not only the GMRENCEN, but also the community surrounding it.
One of the well-known tour guides, Frank Gasiorek, has been guiding GMRENCEN tours since 2007. His passion for the history of the building and its growth is evident from the moment you meet him.
Experience the World of GM
The newest renovation to the building is the redesigned showroom, christened GM World. The space is occupied by one of the largest vehicle turn tables in the world, the most current GM vehicle models and 5,000 square feet of digital screens. Tour guests have the opportunity to speak with a GM product specialist about the current vehicles and ask any questions they may have.
Fun fact: The overall theme, vehicle and images in GM World will change throughout the year, so keep coming back to see all the updates.
Take a Step Back in Time
The GMRENCEN offers plenty of opportunities to learn about the history of GM and its impact on the city of Detroit. One of the newly renovated spaces that allows you to learn more about GM’s legacy is right in the Jefferson Lobby, where you first begin your journey in the building.
See the City from a Unique Perspective
The tour offers a few ways to catch an incredible glimpse of the downtown area. One of them includes viewing the scale model of Detroit, which is located inside the Jefferson Lobby. This model allows you to see the Riverfront, all the towers in a one-mile radius, city parks and the Detroit People Mover.
See the World’s Largest Vertical Glass Sculpture
Danny Lang, an artist from England, was commissioned to make this magnificent piece. The “Borealis,” or Northern Lights, is composed of 1,250 pieces of glass and took 10 weeks to assemble. On the tour, guests have the opportunity to see the sculpture up close, allowing you to see each individual piece of glass come together. The glass sculpture is just one of the breathtaking art pieces in the GMRENCEN.
Walk the Circulation Ring
It’s hard to believe, but the 1/8 mile glass circulation ring was not installed into the building until 1999. A walk around the second floor circulation ring allows guests to see GM World from above and a clear view of the gigantic screens. Tour guides will help you find some “hidden” images along the way!
Fun fact: Each glass piece in the ring weighs 400 pounds!
Discover the Wintergarden
This popular spot filled with restaurants, lots of seating and even palm trees was once a parking garage! The renovation came in 2001, as GM continued their commitment to enhance the GMRENCEN for all tenants and visitors. During the tour, the guide will explain more about the transformative space and all the benefits it has to building guests and employees. After your tour, this is a perfect spot to take a seat and relax for a bit.
Learn about GM’s Impact on the Community
As you are guided through the Wintergarden, you will discover four canvases on the second floor with a deeper meaning. Each of the canvases is color coded to an office tower and explains how General Motors is a company that does much more than just make cars. For the meanings, you will have to take the tour!
Depending on the weather in Detroit, the tour may also include a visit to the GM Plaza on the Riverfront and the Beaubien Garage rooftop. The GM Plaza is part of the RiverWalk, which is being developed to span from the Ambassador Bridge on the west side of the city to the MacArthur Bridge on the east side of the city. The continuous upkeep of the plaza and Riverfront allow for guests and employees to enjoy the river by taking advantage of the walkway and views.
The Beaubien Garage rooftop is as alive as the Riverfront—covered with an ever-growing garden and honeybee hives. The space allows GM to further their commitment to create sustainable solutions and to improve the communities in which it is located.
Fun fact: There are two honeybee hives in the rooftop garden, which help pollinate the gardens and produce Detroit honey, tomatoes, beans and peppers.
Visit the GM Company Store
Your personal journey through the GMRENCEN will always end in the GM Company Store. The store sells Chevrolet, Buick, GM and Cadillac officially licensed merchandise, making it the perfect spot to grab a souvenir on your way out.
Interested in taking the GMRENCEN Tour and seeing the new renovations in person? Join Frank, or one of the other tour guides, Monday through Friday at 12 p.m. and 2 p.m. in the Jefferson Lobby. Let us know what you think of the tour in the comments!
Have you taken the GMRENCEN tour before? Let us know what your favorite part of the tour was in the comments.