More surprises in Sherwin-Williams’ emerging HQ design

Sherwin-Williams is focused on refining the design of its base
HQ building, but not the location of it which is proposed to be
at the northwest corner of West Superior Avenue and West 3rd
Street — not immediately fronting Public Square. Instead, the
proposed use for the former Jacobs Lot is that of a company
museum, retail store and conference center (KJP/Google).

At first, a contributed rendering posted here at NEOtrans looked like it contained an oversight. But with more information coming in like drops of paint, a site plan for Sherwin-Williams’ (SHW) new headquarters (HQ) is gaining more color.

The rendering published in NEOtrans’ previous SHW HQ article shows the base HQ building (represented by SHW’s inspirational prototype — the BOK Park Plaza tower from Oklahoma City) plopped down west of Public Square.

But the specific location being considered right now for SHW’s main HQ building is one block west of the West Roadway of Public Square. The HQ’s front door wouldn’t open out on to Public Square from what was previously called the Jacobs Lot, according to a source on SHW’s HQ development team. The source requested anonymity because the source was not authorized to speak publicly about the HQ planning work.

The 1.17-acre parking lot, previously owned by the Westlake-based Jacobs Group, was the proposed site for various skyscrapers. The proposals ranged in height from a 21-story mixed-tenant office building floated in 2008 to a 62-story, 1,198-foot Ameritrust HQ in 1991. SHW considered putting its new HQ tower here in 2014-16 before its acquisition of rival Valspar caused the company to shelve those plans.

SHW’s Center for Excellence is the public entry to its existing
headquarters on Prospect Avenue. This entry and reception
area features exhibits about the company and flags of the
countries in which SHW does business. A much larger
center is contemplated on Public Square (SHW).

A tower may not be what SHW has in mind for the ex-Jacobs Lot. Instead, SHW’s HQ development team is looking at constructing a different kind of front door for the global coatings giant. Its inspiration is 700 miles south in the Peachtree City.

Across the street from Atlanta’s Centennial Olympic Park is the 92,000-square-foot World of Coca-Cola museum. This interactive museum in Coke’s HQ city attracts 1.2 million visitors per year compared to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame & Museum’s 500,000 annual visits.

SHW is considering a similar corporate interface and attraction for its HQ. It would be similar to but much larger than its Center for Excellence, a 6,000-square-foot point of entry for all visitors to its headquarters since 1930 in the Landmark Building, 101 W. Prospect Ave.

There, visitors can learn about the company’s 154-year history, its products, their uses and ideas for the future. On Public Square, the center would be within range of a paintball shot from SHW’s first business address at 118 Superior St.

SHW’s Public Square center could also feature other uses including a retail store, conference center, board room and more. Thus, its scale is not yet known and no formal designing has been done for the ex-Jacobs Lot yet, the source said.

SHW’s base HQ building would be located one block west of
Public Square, as shown here. However, this unofficial ren-
dering shows the BOK Park Plaza from Oklahoma City
inserted. The actual SHW HQ building will likely be
a little bit taller than 27 stories (contributed).

That’s why drilling to bedrock below this and other lots throughout the entire 6.8-acre SHW-owned HQ site is being undertaken. Much is not yet known where other HQ uses — parking decks, training center, lodging, etc. will be located let alone how they will be designed.

The exception is the base HQ building. SHW and its development team are reportedly comfortable with the basic style — a modern glass box tower similar to the aforementioned 27-story, 700,000-square-foot BOK Park Plaza designed by SHW’s HQ architect Pickard Chilton. The multi-tenant office building houses the headquarters of the Bank of Oklahoma.

But after HQ development team meetings this week, SHW may be willing to put all of their HQ offices in this tower, totaling 1 million square feet. If the already large, 25,000-square-foot floorplates in the BOK Park Plaza model aren’t widened, SHW would bump up its building height from the previously reported 27 stories, to possibly 35-38 stories. At an average of about 16 feet of height per floor, that could push the HQ’s height to nearly 600 feet, making it Cleveland’s fourth-tallest skyscraper.

Refining the design of the base HQ building currently is the focus of the development team, the source said. Then the team will zoom in on the design of the museum/conference center on Public Square. After that, the rest of the HQ site will be addressed.

This shows that the design of the project is not as far along as previously reported. Yet, sources say SHW wants to start construction about one year from now. SHW said in public announcements that it would like to move into the new HQ in 2024.


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