What is the value of a landmark? Is it a statement, or perhaps a symbol? For GM, it could be a source of cash, as the struggling automaker has begun exploring the idea of selling its world headquarters at the Renaissance Center in Detroit and leasing floor space there from the new owner if the company can't refinance the building.
GM originally bought the Renaissance Center in 1996 for $75 million, then borrowed $500 million against it to remodel it. GM was leasing the center until May of this year, when the company paid $626 million to take full ownership. Since then, the company has been looking to refinance it. According to The Detroit News, GM's latest strategy is to appeal to one or both of Detroit's pension funds for a $500 million loan to refinance. GM will meet with representatives of the Police and Fire Retirement System on Thursday and is still trying to schedule a meeting with the retirement fund that handles the city's general employees.
"We think it is a great investment opportunity for both pension funds," Blanchard said. "It's almost fully occupied. It's a very visible iconic property, which generates a lot of cash flow. From our position, it's a safe investment."