By Dave Zielasko, Tire Business staff©
Akron, Ohio -- Goodyear has made it official: It will stay in Akron.
After months of speculation, North America's largest tyre maker
announced today it has approved a plan that will result in the
companyÂ´s moving into a new world headquarters in the city where it was
founded more than 100 years ago.
Goodyear announced the tentative agreement at a Dec. 5 joint press
conference with representatives from Industrial Realty Group
(IRG) LLC, the state of Ohio, the city of Akron and Summit County.
The press conference took place at Goodyear's World Technical Center,
adjacent to the proposed future site of its new headquarters building.
In a complex deal, Goodyear will sell most of its Akron area property
and facilities to IRG, which will construct two buildings for the tyre
maker-a corporate headquarters and headquarters for the company's North
American Tire business. IRG also will make improvements to the
company's technical centre and research facilities.
Goodyear will lease the new buildings and existing technical centre from IRG.
The tyre maker will sign a 20-year lease, with options to extend the
lease up to 55 years, said Joe Gingo, Goodyear's executive vice
president and chief technical officer. As part of the agreement,
Goodyear also is committed to keep 2,900 jobs at the Akron site, he
Tentative ground-breaking on the new Goodyear buildings is scheduled for 2008 with a move-in date of 2010.
â€œI'm pleased to announce we have reached a tentative agreement that
will allow Goodyear to continue its 108-year history with the city of
Akron and the state of Ohio,â€ said Bob Keegan, Goodyear chairman and
CEO. â€œThese state-of-the-art facilities will reflect the new Goodyear-a
place of bold leadership and innovation-and they will inspire future
generations of Goodyear associates.â€
Speaking directly to Goodyear employees watching the press conference
on simulcast, Mr. Keegan said the announcement of the new headquarters
facilities â€œis for you.â€
These new buildings, he continued, will provide â€œus, our associates,
with facilities we think the new Goodyear has earned by the outstanding
progress our people have made in our performance over the past several
Mr. Keegan said he is optimistic the company can close the deal soon, once all the funding support is finalised.
The new facilities, he added, â€œshould help us attract and retain the best and the brightest here to Akron.â€
Separately, IRG has been working with Akron, Summit County and the
state of Ohio to create a multi-phase development of other parts of
Goodyear's property into a mixed-use retail and commercial development,
which will be called Akron Riverwalk.
In the early 1990s IRG redeveloped the former B.F. Goodrich
headquarters and tyre plant complex in downtown Akron for use as a