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Goodyear tentatively agrees to keep headquarters in Akron

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Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. on Wednesday said it has tentatively agreed to keep its corporate offices in Akron, where the biggest U.S. tire manufacturer was founded in 1898.

The company announced a redevelopment of about 140 hectares near downtown Akron that will replace its present headquarters and keep thousands of jobs in the industrial city.

South Carolina and Virginia had been competing with Ohio for the headquarters.

``This is a major milestone for the future of Goodyear and the Akron community,'' Robert Keegan, Goodyear's chairman and chief executive, said at a news conference.

He said the deal ``will keep Goodyear's worldwide headquarters in Akron for decades to come.''

Keegan said he expected remaining financial details to be wrapped up soon. Goodyear could move into its new headquarters by 2010.

Industrial Realty Group, which has a history of remaking old industrial sites across the United States, will buy the Goodyear property, build the new headquarters and lease it to Goodyear.

An estimated $700 million of private capital will go into the project, which is linked to an array of public incentives and will include other office buildings and shops, said Stuart Lichter, president and senior managing partner of IRG, based in Downey, Calif., near Los Angeles.

On Monday, the Ohio Tax Credit Authority voted to award Goodyear a 15-year tax credit of up to 27 per cent in return for retaining about 2,900 jobs at the company's headquarters. The tax credit, valued at $30 million, also requires Goodyear to maintain operations at the site for 30 years.

The Development Financing Advisory Council also approved a $20 million, low-interest loan to finance parking facilities at the new complex.

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Goodyear tentatively agrees to keep headquarters in Akron
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