Tough choices in Detroit

As GM prepares for bankruptcy, the subject of the location of its headquarters has suddenly become a hot topic.

I care deeply about the life of the city of Detroit, but am also deeply concerned about the restoration of the automotive industry here and the impact and influence it can have on the entire region.

Shortly after Chrysler got its last big government bailout, in the Lee Iacocca days, I led the development of real estate strategies and design strategies for the company’s relocation out of the city of Highland Park (a internal susburb, totally surrounded by the city of Detroit) to Auburn Hills.

Initially a move for its technology center, it became also the location for its headquarters. Binding headquarters to the tech center made a clear statement of the purpose and focus of the organization, oriented its people, integrated operations, enabled the “platform” organization that eliminated a lot of duplication and waste, and made a great place to come to work. It gave Chrysler a robust life for the next 20 years.

Can GM afford to accommodate the political demands to stay in the city of Detroit and miss out on the potential rejuvenating power of sparer and focused resources that a relocation of its headquarters to its Tech Center in Warren might provide?

Here is a more complete presentation of my concerns and links to other information on the subject – Tough Choices – Who to save, GM or Detroit?

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