Lear Corporation plants its flag in downtown Detroit

Workers to develop new products in 130-year-old former cigar factory

By Guy Gordon - Reporter/Anchor , Derick Hutchinson

DETROIT - Lear Corporation is becoming the latest suburban company to plant its flag in downtown Detroit. The company believes its new innovation center will be a turning point as it expands into advanced technology.

Officials said they're bringing 100 of their brightest and best workers to develop new products and processes in a 130-year-old former cigar factory.

The scorched timbers speak to the building's rough past, while everything else speaks to a bold new future. Lear is moving designers, engineers and futurists into a space intended to inspire.

Among them will be 40 paid interns from the Center for Creative Studies and Wayne State University's School of Engineering.

Designers will work on new fabrics and leather application while engineers will help code electrical systems for autonomous vehicles.

Young employees want an urban experience, and Lear is integrating that into the center, from its rooftop gardens to its stairwells.

Detroit-based urban artists were hired to decorate the space, and 90 percent of the furniture, including tables made from Lear seat frames, was designed or made in Michigan.

The Motor City is becoming Tech Town.

Why separate innovation from headquarters? Too often, the forward thinkers get pulled into day-to-day operations.

You can see Guy Gordon's full story in the video posted above.

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