AKRON (Dec. 5, 2007) — Goodyear has made it official: It is staying put in Akron.
After months of speculation, North America´s largest tire maker announced today it has approved a plan that will result in the company 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 news conference with representatives from Industrial Realty Group, 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 tire maker-a corporate headquarters and headquarters for the company´s North American Tire business. IRG also will make improvements to the company´s technical center and research facilities.
Goodyear will lease the new buildings and existing technical center from IRG.
The tire 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 added.
Tentative ground-breaking on the new Goodyear buildings is scheduled for 2008 with a move-in date of 2010.
"I´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," said Bob Keegan, Goodyear chairman and CEO. "These 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."
Speaking directly to Goodyear employees watching the news conference on simulcast, Keegan said the announcement of the new headquarters facilities "is for you."
These new buildings, he continued, will provide "us, 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 years."
Keegan said he is optimistic the company can close the deal soon, once all the funding support is finalized. The new facilities, he added, "should help us attract and retain the best and the brightest here to Akron."
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 tire plant complex in downtown Akron for use as a business center.