DETROIT – The Renaissance Center has dominated Detroit’s skyline since its completion in 1977.
The central tower, which is home to the Detroit Marriott hotel, is 73 stories tall, making it an overwhelmingly prominent structure on the riverfront. After more than 40 years, it’s difficult to picture Detroit without it.
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This WWJ-TV (which later became WDIV) special from Dec. 9, 1973 focuses on how the seven-building complex was expected to lead a "renaissance" in Detroit. The word "catalyst" gets used a lot throughout the half-hour documentary.
If you're like me and you love Detroit history, you can imagine my elation when I stumbled upon this in the Local 4 vault. The Renaissance Center construction is before my time, which makes this even more special to me, personally. I missed out on this type of broadcasting. But if you lived through this, I imagine a rush of memories will overtake you.
With soothing narration by Dick Van Sice, "Renaissance Center: A Look at Tomorrow" is a slice of 1970s Detroit like no other. There are special appearances by former Detroit Mayor Roman Gribbs, Detroit Renaissance President Robert McCabe, and more.
“You are about to see Detroit of the future,” Van Sice says. “Destined to make Detroit’s riverfront one of the most talked about landmarks in America, with the practical aim of making Detroit a better place in which to work, to visit and to live. And it will restore to Detroit’s riverfront much of the importance it had when it was young.”
"Detroit of the future" is the theme throughout.