A Cigar Factory From 1887 Becomes An Automotive Incubator: Lear Innovation Center Opens In Detroit

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It is always exciting to see new developments up close and personal. Today was no exception because the Lear Innovation Center officially opened in Capital Park.

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The goal of the innovation center is to bring new innovation and design to not only the auto industry, but the non-automotive industries as well.

Lear will be collaborating with Wayne State University and the College of Creative Studies to bring new technology and design to the real world. Lear will be bringing ten students from each of the schools to work in the innovation center to help create the next generation of seats and the “e-system.”

These cars are not your grandmother’s old car. Gone are the bench seats that might be good for some canoodling at the drive-in but, it turns out, horrible for safety. The next generation of seats will not only protect you in the event of an accident. But they will be able to get your biometrics, send information to paramedics in an event of a crash, “talk” to other cars, and will even be able to adjust to your spine as you sit.

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There are currently 25 employees in the renovated building. Eventually there will be around 100 employees. The majority of the employees working in the Capital Park office will be engineers and designers.

Lear bought the building from Dan Gilbert last September, and has spent the past year renovating it. There has been a lot of work put into the former cigar factory that was built in 1887.

“When I saw this park two years ago, and this building boarded up we knew immediately that this is where we needed to be,” said Matt Simoncini Lear president and CEO. “I have to thank the Bedrock team and Dan Gilbert for making it available. This building inspires innovation, and creativity and we had to have it.”

We weren’t able to get a tour of the whole building today, but they did provide some pictures of the remainder of the facility. Check them out below.

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