Officials Make Bid to Keep Bridgestone Firestone in Akron

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The nearly 100 year old Firestone Parkway structure is aging and lacks the world-class feel company officials say they’re looking for. Only 65 percent of the tech center building is used for designing and engineering tires, while the rest is used for storage or remains vacant.

Bridgestone Firestone senior executive Bob Handlos says the company wants a better, more technologically efficient facility for the more than 600 workers at the site.

Bob Handlos: Today’s technology, a lot of the technology is wireless. That’s very difficult for us to do in our building because 100 years ago they built very thick walls, mostly brick and stone. So the wireless aspect of it is difficult for us. The older buildings aren’t flexible.

Handlos says the company is looking at 3 options: Renovating the current tech center, building a new center in Akron, or moving to a new location in Nashville, where its North American headquarters is located. He wouldn’t comment on whether any tax incentives are on the table, but he did say an environmentally friendly facility was a priority.

The company will make a final decision by the end of the year.

Tasha Flournoy, 90.3.

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