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Old Posted Jun 25, 2022, 3:19 PM
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The North One The North One is offline
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Ren Cen is just facing a bump in the road, obviously due to covid/work from home and of no fault of it's own. It's obviously a very amenity rich complex and that is exactly what today's office tenants require.

Before the pandemic there was basically no space available. Having some free space right now isn't exactly a bad thing, makes it easier to lure bigger relocations.
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Old Posted Jun 26, 2022, 5:29 PM
iheartthed iheartthed is offline
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Originally Posted by Crawford View Post
The article was of its time. The RenCen got tons of design criticism when it opened.

I think people are missing that this was intentional, though. It wasn't corporate guys ignorant about design. In the 1960's-1970's, there was a belief, in the planning-design realm, that urban decay was like a spreading cancer, and you arrest the cancer by detaching new development from the existing context. Portman knew exactly what he was doing.

1970's-era downtown Detroit was, to many, a scary place. Blacks were "taking over". It was still busy, but a different kind of busy. The streets were foreign to the establishment. Crime and disorder were on the rise. This was the antidote. Yes, it was stupid, in retrospect.
The RC uniquely bad even for that era. Detroit was the fifth largest city in the U.S. in the 1970s. All of the other big 5 were going through the same cycles of urban decay and rising crime in that era. And 3 of the 5 cities built signature towers in that decade: WTC in NYC (towers 1 & 2 completed by 1973), Sears/Willis Tower (completed 1974), and Renaissance Center (completed 1977). Of those only the RenCen was deliberately designed to be inaccessible by pedestrians.
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Old Posted Jun 26, 2022, 11:55 PM
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Steely Dan Steely Dan is offline
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^ don't forget about the big 800+ foot towers built in Toronto, LA, SF, and Pittsburgh back in the '70s.

They were the 4 tallest scrapers on the planet outside of NYC/Chicago at the time.
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Old Posted Jun 27, 2022, 12:02 AM
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I'd say all those 70's-towers were pretty anti-urban relative to their context. Yeah, RenCen is an outlier, but Detroit is/was an outlier.

Also, RenCen is really a mid-late-70's development, the urban fortress era. WTC, Sears Tower were more projects from the 1960's-era or immediate aftermath. You could even argue WTC was a 1950's development (in terms of its planning scope). WTC took about 20 years from idea to completion.

In say, 1968, there was still huge optimism about the state of American cities. That was the era of Washington Metro, BART, plans for massive MTA subway expansion. By 1974 or so, the gestalt was radically different. Cities were burning, wealth flight had eviscerated municipal budgets. Riots, Vietnam, federal retrenchment, white flight, the end of the Great Society and Model Cities funding era.

Just look at famous NYC movies of the era up to about 1968 or so, and then famous NYC movies of the next 10 years. Taxi Driver, Death Wish, Midnight Cowboy and the Warriors vs. Breakfast at Tiffanys, Funny Girl, Barefoot in the Park, Sunday in New York.
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