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Goodyear looks at plans to move headquarters from Akron to... Akron

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Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. is hoping to establish, in a campus-like setting, new buildings for its global headquarters and North American headquarters adjacent to its Akron (Ohio) Technical Center on existing Goodyear property.

Developer Stu Lichter of Industrial Real Estate Group (IRG) has presented a proposal to Goodyear and the City of Akron that would include the purchase of Goodyear's existing property for redevelopment in exchange for constructing two new buildings for Goodyear adjacent to its Akron Technical Center in a long-term lease deal.

If the economics of the project can be worked out, the new headquarters would fit with Goodyear's business needs, according to Joe Gingo, Goodyear's executive vice president and chief technical officer.

"Working with Stu's team, we have initiated a comprehensive study to review the economics, viability and benefits. Our outdated facilities are not conducive to effective and efficient business in today's environment.

"To fully understand the dynamics and economics of creating a new business environment, and in the interest of fairness to shareholders, the company needed to thoroughly study all options," says Gingo.

"A project of such magnitude will need the joint cooperation of Goodyear, IRG, the City of Akron, Summit County, the state of Ohio and federal government to work, but we see this as a huge win-win for everyone involved," says Akron Mayor Don Plusquellic. "I'm elated that Goodyear has given all of us in the Akron community an opportunity to keep them here, and I appreciate very much their willingness to re-commit to Akron, if we can do our part."

The development would also open up a great opportunity for IRG to redevelop the existing facilities into a new engine for business development and job creation in Akron, according to Lichter, who is best known in the area for his efforts in the Canal Place redevelopment, which brought an estimated 3,000 jobs to downtown Akron.

The existing Goodyear buildings, which total close to 800,000 usable square feet, would be converted to a mixed use complex of office, commercial and retail space.

IRG estimates that the mixed use development will create an additional 2,000 jobs with an approximate payroll of $80 million. The new campus of buildings would retain the more than 3,000 jobs at Goodyear totaling an estimated $350 million in payroll.

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