Bridgestone could Move Their Headquarters to Downtown Nashville in New High Rise

Mayor Karl Dean's administration is prepared to offer more than $50 million in city incentives to lure Bridgestone Americas' corporate headquarters to downtown in a move that would make the tiremaker one of the largest private employers in Nashville.

The deal, one of Nashville's most significant economic development deals in recent years, would relocate a total of 1,700 employees, including 600 who are currently out-of-state, into a new 30-story building in the area south of Broadway.

The move would not only include the relocation of the current Bridgestone corporate headquarters near the airport, but also involve the transfer of employees from three existing Bridgestone divisions — including ones in Chicago and Indianapolis — to Nashville. According to sources, the deal is also contingent on a similar amount of incentives from the state.

Employees at those offices were to be notified Tuesday.

The deal will also create a significant new addition to Nashville's skyline.

Bridgestone is set to be the lone tenant of the 500,000-square-foot tower that developer Highwoods Properties is planning to build at Fourth Avenue and Demonbreun Street next to the Encore condo tower. The 30-story building would rank as one of downtown's tallest officer towers.

The new building would only be a couple of blocks away from the city's sports arena, which has Bridgestone as its corporate sponsor. State officials said total investment in the project would top $230 million.

Dean, Gov. Bill Haslam and Tennessee Economic and Community Development Commissioner Bill Hagerty were part of an official announcement Tuesday afternoon.

Metro, contingent on Metro Council approval, would give Bridgestone a 100 percent abatement of real property tax payments over 20 years, beginning in 2018, to make the move happen. In addition, Metro would give the company a $500 per employee credit for all new employees into Davidson County over a seven-year period.

Bridgestone Americas, the U.S. subsidiary of Tokyo-based Bridgestone Corp., occupies nearly 90 percent of its 282,101-square-foot building at 535 Marriott Drive in Donelson, where its lease expires in 2017.

The city's package is modeled off the $66 million in incentives, primary through property tax breaks, that it gave to the hospital giant HCA to trigger the relocation of two of its subsidiaries to a new North Gulch site off 11th Avenue North.

Only HCA — which is expected to bring 2,000 new jobs to downtown over time — would employee more people in downtown Nashville than Bridgestone. Other top downtown Nashville employers are: ServiceSource with about 1,000 employees; UBS, with 1,240 and Lifeway, with slightly less than 1,110.

The state's involvement is expected to involve both an immediate payment as well as some combination of tax breaks, according to sources.

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In orchestrating the deal, Metro and state officials had not only consider what it took to lure two-out-of-state Bridgestone divisions, but also keep one of Davidson County largest employees from leaving. Three cities, including Nashville, were to believed to be in the final running for the headquarters.

"This is a huge win for Nashville," said Courtney Ross, chief economic development officer of the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce. "Bridgestone is a globally recognized brand that plays a vitally important role in the Nashville region's economy. Today's announcement means Bridgestone will continue to play a role in Nashville's growth well into the future.

"This project of course sends another strong signal about the strength of the Nashville business climate and its economic vitality."

Highwoods, the Nashville area's largest office landlord, recently purchased the roughly 1-acre future site of the future building from developer Tony Giarratana.

The new 30-story tower, which will include street-level, would be around the same height as the Pinnacle Building, located just a block away.

Written by Joey Garrison and Getahn Ward

Article from Tennessean