Sherwin-Williams HQ Staying Downtown, Adding Brecksville R&D Site

one of the parking lots currently on the site of what will be the new Sherwin-Williams headquarters with Cleveland's skyline in the background.
The new headquarters will be approximately 1 million square feet, taking over what are currently three blocks of parking lots in Downtown Cleveland. [Nick Castele / ideastream]
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Updated: 5:15 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 6, 2020

Cleveland-based global paint giant Sherwin-Williams announced Thursday it will build a new headquarters downtown, just west of Public Square between St. Clair and Superior Avenues.

A research and development facility, estimated to be 500,000 square feet, will also be constructed in Brecksville off Interstate 77 at Miller and Brecksville roads.

The company is expecting to invest a minimum of $600 million in both projects. The headquarters is estimated to be approximately 1 million square feet, taking over what are currently three blocks of parking lots in Downtown Cleveland.

"Our plans to continue investing in Cleveland and Northeast Ohio build on our 154-year legacy as one of the region’s top employers and drivers of economic activity,”  Sherwin-Williams Chairman and Chief Executive Officer John G. Morikis said in the release. "We currently operate out of a 90-year-old headquarters building that has served us well but is no longer conducive to meeting our future needs.”

The company announced in September it was looking for larger and updated facilities and that it was looking into several locations around Northeast Ohio as well as in other states.

Sherwin says the transition to these two facilities is not expected until 2023 at the earliest. 

map of Sherwin-Williams new HQ site

The new Downtown Cleveland headquarters is expected to be 1 million square feet. The new research and development center will be 16 miles south in Brecksville.  [Sherwin-Williams]

A variety of constraints prevent the research and development facility from being located downtown with the new headquarters, the company said in a separate press release.

"Due to current building codes, safety requirements, transportation needs and other Company requirements, the Company could not find a suitable location to co-locate the R&D center and the global headquarters downtown,” according to the release.

Sherwin-Williams currently employs 4,400 people in Northeast Ohio and that number is expected to grow with the new headquarters. The two new facilities are expected to house a minimum of 3,500 employees with room for future growth. Sherwin-Williams also plans to add a minimum of 400 employees – an increase of 11 percent to the company's local workforce. 

According to the release, Sherwin-Williams generated more than $4 billion in employee payroll and $140 million in taxes for Cuyahoga County and Cleveland in the past 10 years. The City of Cleveland estimates that when the new global headquarters is occupied, the Cleveland Metropolitan School District will receive an estimated $3 million in additional annual revenue from Sherwin-Williams.

Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson said legislation related to tax breaks for Sherwin-Williams' new downtown headquarters will not be ready for Monday's council meeting because “loose ends need to be tied up.”

Jackson didn’t have specifics on the incentives but did list the types of credits Sherwin would get, including “a non-school TIF [tax increment funding], the job incentive grant and the financing for construction, which is a combination of grants and other kinds of tools.”

The cities of Cleveland and Brecksville, Cuyahoga County and the state of Ohio are expected to provide a number of tax incentives to keep Sherwin in town.

“This incentive package, in terms of dollar amount and in terms of duration, will be higher than I think any others that we've done [since] I've been mayor,” Jackson said.

Economic development packages are pending approval over the next several months, according to the company.

“We are excited about Sherwin-Williams plans, which would bring an infusion of jobs and additional tax revenue into our community,” Brecksville Mayor Jerry Hruby said in a Sherwin-Williams press release. “We believe the new R&D center in Brecksville would be a catalyst to attract increased office, residential, hospitality and retail investment.”

The R&D facility will serve as an anchor for Valor Acres, Brecksville’s forthcoming mixed-use development, said Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Jon Kozesky. The name is a nod to the veterans’ hospital that used to occupy the property, he said.

“We were looking for kind of an anchor tenant, a larger employer to set up shop,” Kozesky said. “We’re very excited the city and the state were able to entice Sherwin-Williams to plan their R&D development right there.”

The city developed an incentive package to bring in Sherwin-Williams, Kozesky said, but he didn’t know the specifics of that offer.

“I know that our city worked aggressively with the state of Ohio, specifically JobsOhio, to find packages that are enticing both for companies to set up shop and also a win for our community,” Kozesky said.

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