Southfield-based automotive seating supplier Lear Corp. today announced renovation plans for the Hemmeter Building located at 230 East Grand River Ave. in Detroit (Paradise Valley). The company plans to use floors four to seven for administrative office space, executive offices, and a new business incubation center; the remaining floors will be leased to business partners and professional service providers.
This is the first time Lear has announced plans for the seven-story building since acquiring it in September 2015. Built in 1911, the white enable brick structure originally housed the Hemmeter Cigar Factory.
The company also announced that Spectacles, an independent retail boutique that has called the building home for 34 years, will be completely renovated, and remain at its present street-level location. The company worked with Spectacle owner Zana Smith to plan out the renovation. Spectacles carries both men’s and womenswear, books, CDs, albums, hats, and a variety of glasses.
“Lear Corp. has been more than accommodating during the process of renovation,” says Smith. “They have worked with me closely to make sure that my doors did not have to close during this time. For that I will always be grateful.”
Matt Simoncini, Lear’s president and CEO, says he looks forward to working with Smith in the building.
“We were happy to work together with Zana to update her store, and work out a financial arrangement whereby Spectacles could remain,” he adds. “During the renovation of the building, we have provided the space to Spectacles on a rent-free basis. We are very interested in supporting an independent business and keeping it in the city of Detroit.”
Last year, Lear converted the original Brown Brothers Cigar Co., which got its start in 1887 at 119 State St., just west of Griswold Street in Capitol Park, into the Lear Innovation Center. In addition to supporting Lear activities at the building, the auto supplier is working with the College for Creative Studies in Detroit on the next generation of automotive seating and vehicle interiors. It is also working with the Wayne State University School of Engineering in Detroit to develop applications for connected cars and alternative energy vehicles.