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BRIDGESTONE is building a new head office in Adelaide, retaining a commitment to the city where it started in 1939 as SA Rubber Mills.

The company’s managing director, Stephen Roche, said the decision to remain in Adelaide shows support for the state that shaped the company’s heritage.

“We’re delighted to commit to the next phase of Bridgestone Australia and New Zealand’s history in Adelaide, and continue our story in South Australia from a brand-new corporate headquarters,” he said.

“South Australia has been the centre of Bridgestone’s operations in Australia since its beginning, and we’re thrilled to continue to give back to the state that shaped the company we are now.

“Our new Australian headquarters is just one element of our ongoing commitment to South Australia, but our continued support of the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge for the next decade highlights our focus on the future.”

The building, which is expected to be completed late this year, is under construction at 210 Greenhill Road, Eastwood, in Adelaide’s inner south, down the road from the company’s present offices.

It will be a six-storey building plus a basement with car parking levels, with Bridgestone taking two levels – floors five and six – for workspace and meeting rooms, spacious lunch area and an outdoor terrace area on the top floor.

There will be one other tenant and a ground floor for a retail and cafe space.

Its construction follows the company’s 80th anniversary last year with a lineage back to 1939. The company evolved and expanded to become Uniroyal Tyres before developing into Bridgestone Australia in 1981.

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Its history includes being the sole rubber supplier to the new Australian car, the Holden 48/215, in 1948.

Bridgestone Australia and New Zealand will be the primary tenants of the new development which should be unveiled later this year.

Bridgestone’s investment in South Australia goes beyond tyres and business operations, supporting a range of community initiatives throughout the state.

The company is also a long-term partner of the Leukaemia Foundation and naming rights partner of the charity’s patient support village in Adelaide.

In November last year, the site of Bridgestone’s former Adelaide tyre factory was turned into an athletics track.

The facility was another step in the $5.3 million refurbishment of the Bridgestone factory in Salisbury in a process that started in 2017 with the construction of playgrounds, including swings made from tyres.

The 6.8-hectare site, named Bridgestone Reserve, already has a fitness trail, grassed ovals, flying foxes, a toilet block, carpark, barbecues and picnic areas.

Now the site, donated to the City of Salisbury when Bridgestone closed its plant in 2010, will add a 400-metre athletics track.

Mr Roche said the addition of the athletics facility will create further value for the community and is a fitting use of the space.

“Bridgestone’s vision for this site was for it to be a welcoming environment and regularly utilised by the community, and since the opening of Bridgestone Reserve it has done just that,” he said.

“To see Bridgestone Reserve receive such a significant upgrade highlights how important this space is for the community, and fills us with pride to have made such a meaningful contribution.”

Bridgestone said that the donation of the land to the City of Salisbury council echoed the sentiments of Bridgestone’s founder Shojiro Ishibashi (whose surname translates as Stone Bridge), who aimed to benefit society through the provision of sporting facilities for the community around its original factory in Kurume, Japan.

By Neil Dowling

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