Lear Corp. to set up design studio in Capitol Park
Auto supplier Lear Corp. plans to set up a high-tech design studio in Detroit’s downtown Capitol Park area, in a building currently owned by Dan Gilbert’s Bedrock Real Estate Services, according to a source familiar with the deal.
Seats for cars and other vehicles will be designed there, the source said. The design studio joins an increasingly upscale Capitol Park, a triangular area bounded by Shelby, Griswold and State streets that has attracted more than $100 million in investment since 2009.
Officials for Southfield-based Lear said earlier this month it wanted to be part of Detroit’s efforts to attract more businesses and residents.
“Lear has its roots in Detroit and we support the turnaround,” said Mel Stephens, Lear spokesman, in a recent Detroit News interview.
The company had no comment Friday about its Capitol Park venture, which will be formally announced Monday.
The building where Lear will house the studio is the empty 119 State St., a six-story structure that was originally the home of Brown Brothers Tobacco Co. A press conference is slated for Monday at the building with Mayor Mike Duggan and Dan Gilbert, chairman and founder of Quicken Loans. Gilbert also oversees Bedrock Real Estate Services.
Gilbert’s Bedrock Real Estate owns at least six buildings in Capitol Park. The area is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. After years of neglect, many of the buildings surrounding the park have changed ownership in the past few years and are undergoing extensive renovations.
Lear makes vehicle seating and electrical systems worldwide. With 2014 sales of $17.7 billion, Lear ranks 174th among the Fortune 500. It has 135,000 employees in 235 locations.
Earlier this month, Lear Corp. announced the purchase of another building in downtown Detroit, the seven-story Hemmeter Building at 1465 Centre St. Lear hasn’t said what it plans for that building.