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DETROIT-General Motors opened a new door onto Detroit this morning — and gave the city a prized piece of waterfront. A ceremony celebrated the completion of a new main entrance to GM’s headquarters in the Renaissance Center in Downtown, including a surprise announcement that it is deeding over the riverfront plaza and promenade between the RenCen to the Detroit Riverfront Conservancy.

“This is another step in the revitalization of the city of Detroit and the waterfront,” GM chairman and chief executive officer Rick Wagoner says. “We are pleased to make this donation as part of our commitment to economic development.”

GM has been working on the entrance to the RenCen since moving in several years ago. Gone are the berms that separated the facility from the rest of the CBD. A new entrance, with a large glass atrium, now faces Jefferson.

The world’s largest automaker has been among the leaders in the effort over the past two years to revitalize the Detroit Riverfront. It created a plaza area along the river in the area of the RenCen.

Wagoner also announced Friday that GM plans to conduct economic development forums in each of its four global regions over the next year. Forums will bring together regional and local economic development officials, community leaders and GM staff experts in economic growth and development.

Matt Cullen, GM’s general manager of economic development and enterprise services, and Doug Rothwell, executive director ofworldwide real estate, will lead the regional economic development forums in Detroit, Zurich, Switzerland; Sao Paulo, Brazil and Shanghai, China. No dates have been set for the forums.

Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick says GM’s purchase and redevelopment of the Renaissance Center has been a catalyst driving therevitalization of Detroit. “GM could have put its new headquarters anywhere, but they have an unwavering commitment to Detroit,” Kilpatrick says. “GM’s decision to reinvest in the community is driving the growth we are experiencing today. This facility not only houses nearly 11,000 people but has the largest single concentration of retail space in Detroit.”

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