First Piece of Gilbert’s Real Estate Empire Sold to Lear

In a move that puts an end to a long row of property acquisitions in Detroit, Dan Gilbert has let go of one of the pieces in his real estate empire and closed the first asset sale.

By Veronica Grecu, Associate Editor

119 State Street - Detroit
119 State Street – Detroit

For more than five years, Dan Gilbert has been buying properties left and right in Detroit through his real estate arm, Bedrock Real Estate Services. After amassing more than 80 properties that account for over 13 million square feet of space located mostly in Detroit’s central business district, the real estate mogul sold his first building to Lear Corp.

The Southfield, Mich.-based auto supplier purchased the historic 119 State Street building located in Detroit’s Capitol Park District. The sale price remained undisclosed but, according to an official statement announcing the deal, Lear Corp. plans to convert the 35,000-square-foot building sitting at the corner of State and Shelby Streets into an innovation and design center.

The long-vacant, six-story building—which was originally built in 1887 as headquarters for the Brown Brothers Tobacco Co.—will accommodate programs and facilities for automotive innovation, a non-automotive new business incubator, a think tank, creative design studio, an art gallery, Lear executive satellite offices, conference and meeting space, and a rooftop garden. Construction is set to begin soon and the project is scheduled for completion in 2016.

“The sale of 119 State Street provides Lear with a prime location to launch this cool, unique initiative where brilliant ideas will be developed, nurtured and brought to life,” said Dan Gilbert, founding partner of Bedrock Real Estate Services. “We are thrilled to play a role in making this groundbreaking project a reality, whether we are developing properties ourselves or holding buildings in inventory until we deliver them to a great owner with an effective and unique vision. Lear’s new Innovation and Design Center fits perfectly in the up-and-coming Capitol Park district and with all that is happening in downtown Detroit.”

Bedrock Real Estate Services still owns a surface parking lot and several buildings in Capitol Park, including the David Scott building at 1150 Griswold St., the Clark Lofts at 35 W. Grand River Ave., and a retail and office building at 1250 Griswold St.

Less than a month before taking over 119 State Street, Lear Corp. purchased the seven-story Hemmeter Building located at 1465 Center St.

Image via Google Street View

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