La-Z-Boy Inc. plans new headquarters in Monroe

MONROE (AP) -- La-Z-Boy Inc. has announced plans to start work in June on a new $57 million world headquarters in Monroe.

The Monroe-based company will get Michigan and local tax incentives totaling about $13 million for the environmentally friendly building, according to The Monroe Evening News. It is being built on 120 acres formerly held by the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

The complex will replace the company's 85-year-old headquarters. The company had contemplated renovating that property but it just was not feasible, said Kurt L. Darrow, La-Z-Boy chairman, president and chief executive officer. The company also considered relocating to Toledo riverfront because some of its nearly 500 employees live in Ohio.

"We ended up finding what I think is the gem of Monroe in the property we were able to negotiate with the sisters right here in town," Darrow said. "It's been a great community effort by everyone involved. It's great to see everybody pulling in the same direction."

He said the present headquarters would be put up for sale.

"We're going to listen to offers," he said, "and we'll make sure whoever ends up with it will be a credit to our community."

The company plans to divide the assets of the La-Z-Boy corporate museum between The Henry Ford and the Monroe County Historical Museum, with some items on display at the new headquarters lobby, Darrow said.

"More people will have access to it than ever before," he said.

Darrow also said La-Z-Boy's turnaround from the recent economic downturn was so dramatic that the Harvard Business School will teach a course on it.

Tracy Oberleiter, a Monroe Bank & Trust senior vice president, said the project's economic impact would be significant. The $57 million investment would be similar to building 300 new homes, he said.

"This is a big deal," he said.

Published: Tue, May 14, 2013


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