Multi-party agreement reached to keep Bridgestone technical center, 1,000 jobs

December 08, 2009

Akron City Council Monday night approved a historic agreement that will keep an Akron icon – and 1,000 full time jobs – in the city.

Council authorized the execution of a development agreement between the city, Summit County, the Summit County Port Authority and Bridgestone Americas Tire Operations LLC to build a new technical center on the grounds of the original Firestone Tire and Rubber Co. campus in Firestone Park.

Under the agreement, Bridgestone will invest $67 million to construct a new 260,000-square-foot technical center on Firestone Parkway and 410-car parking lot directly across the street to be shared with Firestone Stadium. Construction is expected to begin in the spring.

For its decision to remain in Akron, Bridgestone will benefit from additional assistance and incentives from not only the city and county, but from the state of Ohio and the private sector.

Akron will contribute $1 million per year in Tax Increment Financing (TIF) payments to the project over the first 10 years, and $800 per year during the last 20 years of the agreement. If Bridgestone should leave Akron within 20 years of the agreement, the company will repay the city a pro-rata share of its contribution.

Other key details of the agreement are:

  • The city will spend $10 million to further redevelop the surrounding neighborhood and continue the $8.5 million in improvements underway on Main Street from Waterloo Road to Firestone Boulevard.
  • The city will purchase and lease to Bridgestone its former headquarters, 35 acres of surrounding land and Club House if the company is unable to sell them.  
  • The city and Summit County will contribute $500,000 each to construct a pedestrian connector from the parking facility to the technical center.
  • Summit County and the Port Authority will contribute $6.8 million, also for the parking facility and pedestrian walkway.
  • FirstEnergy Corp. is committing $600,000 toward making the technical center energy-efficient.
  • The State of Ohio is providing incentives totaling $32 million, including a Rapid Outreach grant, an Ohio 166 Direct Loan and an Ohio Job Retention Tax Credit.

Council President Marco Sommerville lauded the agreement as a testimony to how the city and county can work together for the betterment of the local and regional economy.

“This is a great day,” Sommerville (W-3) said. “We always try to attract new business to this community, but the fact that we can retain jobs really says what we can do when we work together.”