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WARREN, MI-General Motors Corp. is set to open its new $1 billion Vehicle Engineering Center facility on the Warren Tech Center campus. A ribbon-cutting ceremony will open the 2.2 million sf facility on Wednesday at 9:00 a.m., said Jim Burke, a GM spokesman.

He told GlobeSt.com that company Chairman and CEO G. Richard Wagoner Jr., Gov. Jennifer Granholm and Warren Mayor Mark Steenbergh are expected to attend.

The facility is comprised of a new, eight-story building, which comprises one million sf, and a renovated existing office space of about 1.2 million sf. The buildings add to the 54-year-old Tech Center, which features about 31 GM buildings in all along Van Dyke Avenue. The project took just less than three years to complete.

The new office tower, next to a man-made lake on the east side of the campus, is 600 feet long and more than 170 feet wide. The VEC includes the existing building formerly known as the Mid-Size and Luxury Car headquarters, a two-story sky lit atrium serving as a central commons and activity-filled gathering space with retail cafe amenities and exhibition areas, and a tower with a two-story, 1,000 seat “cafetorium” for dining.

About 8,000 engineers and technicians of GM’s North America Car Engineering group will be located at the new VEC. The move will consolidate engineering functions, formerly performed in 14 locations throughout Southeast Michigan.

“It made the most sense, this way the designers at the center will be able to interface with all the engineers, so that it won’t be split up between brands,” Burke said. A lot of engineers were moved out of the Pontiac Centerpoint Campus, for example, for co-location purposes, he said.

Burke said the place to build a joint facility was always Warren. “GM has a long history at the Tech Center,” Burke said. “We have a commitment we wanted to continue in the city.”

The company is also assisting on the city’s new downtown plan, which consists of over 700,000-sf of new retail/office space, as well as a residential development, surrounded by professionally designed landscaped parks and walkways.

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