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Bridgestone Americas moves to downtown Nashville

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) -- We often highlight new businesses moving to Nashville, but perhaps one of the biggest corporate relocations in recent memory is just a 5-mile move.

The Bridgestone Americas Inc. move from a 12-story building near Briley Parkway to a 30-story and 514,000 square feet building in downtown Nashville is expected to take place in December 2017.

To say it's just a move from Briley to Demonbruen is only part of the deal.

"We've got five large business units; we've never had more than two of those units at Briley Parkway location. We are actually bringing three units to this location. One from Chicago and two from Carmel, Indiana. We will have all of our business under one roof," said Gordon Knapp, president and CEO of Bridgestone Americas.

That's 600 additional jobs for the area.

Knapp took News 2 on a tour of what will be the company's new home. With just about every major U.S. city ready to roll out the red carpet to get this facility, the company chose Nashville for a second time in 25 years.

"It has an energy to it. I'm not talking about just amenities and things to do at night and the weekend. It's a friendly city, an engaging city, it's a great place to live and work, you can feel that," explained Knapp. "Whether it was Gov. Bill Haslam, Mayor Karl Dean and now Mayor Megan Berry, tremendous support we really felt they wanted us to be here."

Which makes sense because the company helped put Nashville on the map in the auto sector, which is now booming.

The building, which is under construction, is about as green as a skyscraper gets. It also has open steps between individual floors.

It's about communication, flexible conference space for up to 400, and about inspiration, built to feed off Nashville's energy, and it's just about at full height.

Nearly 2,000 jobs will soon occupy the building, which was once a parking lot, and the construction jobs created were all considered in the decision to build.

"We've been one of the 25 most charitable company's recognized as most charitable, and we take a tremendous amount of pride in that and that doesn't say anything to the thousands of hours our teammates contribute," said Knapp.

He says his mission is to expand Bridgestone's global footprint, and it all begins and ends with Nashville.

"The one thing I would share with you is, it doesn't matter if I'm travelling in Asia or Latin America, everyone knows about Nashville now and where it is and they have pretty positive perspective that it's a great place to visit. Talk to people that have been with us for 25 years, that wasn't always the case. I continue to be surprised how many people know about Nashville well beyond U.S. borders."

In addition to the new Bridgestone headquarters downtown, the company is opening a new service operations center in Antioch this summer, which will house about 450 jobs.

News 2 is exploring the pros and cons of the city's growth in our Nashville 2017 project in every newscast Thursday, January 18. Click here for complete coverage.

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