Goodyear reaches tentative agreement to stay in Akron, Ohio

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Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co.'s board of directors has approved a plan that, when finalized, will keep the company's world headquarters in Akron, Ohio.

The company announced the tentative agreement this morning at a joint press conference with representatives from the Industrial Realty Group (IRG), the state of Ohio, the city of Akron and Summit County. The press conference was held at Goodyear's World Technical Center, adjacent to the proposed future site of its new headquarters building.

"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's chairman and CEO.

The tentative agreement between Goodyear and IRG calls for Goodyear to sell most of its Akron-area property and facilities to IRG. In turn, IRG will construct a new world headquarters building and a new headquarters for the company's North American Tire business unit. It also will make improvements to the company's technical center and research facilities.

Goodyear will lease the new buildings and the existing technical center from IRG.

Now that Goodyear's board has approved the proposal, Goodyear and the other key groups can begin work on finalizing the necessary details of the purchase and lease agreement, which includes securing public funding and other due diligence issues.

When the deal is finalized, Goodyear expects to break ground for its new buildings in 2008; it will move into the new facilities in 2010.

Separately, IRG has been working with Akron, Summit County and Ohio officials to create a multi-phase development of other parts of Goodyear's property into a mixed-use retail and commercial development to be called Akron Riverwalk.

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