Tokyo, Japan-based Bridgestone Corporation, the world's largest tire and rubber company, plans to build multi-million dollar state-of-the-art agricultural research and development facilities in Mesa and Eloy, Arizona.
Bridgestone's southeast Mesa research and development facility, near the intersection of East Pecos Road and South Mountain Road, will process agricultural research conducted at Bridgestone's 281-acre guayule research farming operation in Eloy, Arizona facility.
The research farm will include a multi-purpose office-laboratory and greenhouses to investigate the use and production of Guayule, a shrub native to the Southwest that produces natural rubber in its roots and bark. Thirty-two researchers and technicians will work at the facility, developing efficient and sustainable methods to convert the shrub into tire-grade rubber.
This was an important step in the realization of our guayule research activities, and we are excited to have found a base of operations for our researchers," said Bill Niaura, Director of New Business Development for Bridgestone Americas, Inc. "Every step we take brings us closer to our ultimate goal of developing new, domestic and sustainable sources for natural rubber; we look forward to breaking ground and getting started soon."
"This is such an exciting and innovative project. It will not only help our communities meet the strong, anticipated growth in demand for natural rubber, but also constitutes a potential breakthrough for the rubber industry," Niaura said. Information on whether the company will receive state tax incentives or federal grants to fund its research was not immediately available.
Bridgestone said it selected Mesa as the home of its new facility for its warm, dry Guayule-appropriate climate and its talented, educated workforce.
"This is yet another example of how the Mesa Gateway area is positively contributing to the economic success of our region and to the State as a whole," Mesa Vice Mayor Scott Somers said. "We are thrilled to have a company with the international prestige of Bridgestone come to Mesa to research ways to create a more sustainable product."
"Bridgestone highlights the best of Arizona , a testament to the varied skill sets we offer companies statewide, and a strong climate for leading-edge research and product development," Arizona Commerce Authority Interim President and CEO Sandra Watson said.