Adient looks to Detroit for new corporate office, jobs

Michael Wayland
The Detroit News

Johnson Controls spin-off Adient is “hopeful” it will open a new North American corporate headquarters with 500-600 employees, including 100 new jobs, in downtown Detroit.

David Roznowski, director of global external communications for the automotive seating and interiors company, said the auto supplier is in discussions with the Michigan Economic Development Corp. for potential grants and tax breaks that will determine if Adient decides on the Motor City.

“As far as our management feels, Detroit would be our preferred location,” he said Monday night, noting that the seating division’s headquarters under Johnson Controls has always been in Plymouth. “We don’t have a final decision yet. There are a lot of moving pieces.”

The corporate office would replace a corporate office on its research and development campus in Plymouth. Adient, like Johnson Controls, is domiciled for tax purposes in Ireland. Corporate offices outside Metro Detroit are in Milwaukee; Burscheid, Germany; and Shanghai, China.

Roznowski said the decision “ultimately depends on what MEDC plans to do.” That decision is expected to be made at a Nov. 22 meeting of the state’s Michigan Strategic Fund. An MEDC representative was not immediately available for comment.

Adient Executive Vice President Byron Foster recently told The Detroit News the company was planning a corporate office in Metro Detroit, but declined to specify potential locations.

Foster said as part of the company’s plan it would invest an undisclosed amount in its Plymouth tech campus, but could centralize operations into one or two locations instead of three.

Crain’s Business Detroit on Monday reported Adient plans to move into the Marquette Building at 243 W. Congress. Roznowski confirmed the building —located across from Cobo Center — is one of two locations in downtown Detroit that the company has scouted out.

“We haven’t closed a deal yet, and everything is subject to change,” he said. “It’s very fluid; a lot needs to happen in a very short amount of time because if we do get MEDC approval on the 22nd than we would potentially move forward on what location we are or aren’t going to.”

He said Adient also has other less expensive potential locations outside of the city and state.

Adient, Roznowski said, is requesting about 1.5 percent of the total investment in the new facility. He declined to disclose the total investment amount.

If the company does move to Detroit, which Roznowski called “ideal,” it would be the second auto supplier to open a downtown office. Lear Corp. last month held a grand opening for an “Innovation Center” in Capitol Park.

Adient employs 3,500 in Michigan at eight facilities in Auburn Hills, Battle Creek, Detroit, Holland, Lansing, Plymouth and Warren. The 100 new jobs will be in human resources, legal and other positions that were handled by Johnson Controls.