Sherwin-Williams may not move into new HQ until 2025

The interior of Sherwin-Williams’ new headquarters in downtown
Cleveland could be similar to that of Qualtrics Tower in Seattle.
The interior designer at SHW HQ architect Pickard Chilton
recently worked on the Seattle project. But SHW workers
won’t see the finished product until after they move in
sometime in 2025, sources say (Centrel Imagery).

There’s a mix of good and bad news coming out of the development team working on Sherwin-Williams’ (SHW) new headquarters (HQ) in downtown Cleveland. Let’s get the bad news out of the way first.

At the current rate of progress by the development team, SHW employees probably won’t be able to move into the new HQ until sometime in 2025. That’s nearly a year later than a revised schedule announced publicly last September. And even that was a revision from an earlier goal. SHW executives initially had hoped they would be able to move into their new HQ in late-2023.

The delayed move-in date is due to delays in the project’s design. Only now is SHW’s HQ development team getting a better sense of a site plan. The HQ is planned to rise on a portion of 6.82 acres of SHW-owned land now used as parking lots on the west side of Public Square.

Now SHW’s HQ development team has to lay out the programming of the structures starting with the base HQ tower. There won’t be any renderings of the new HQ for internal review until this fall. And any designs may not be submitted to the city for public review until early 2022, sources said.

This reportedly is the site plan that SHW’s HQ development team
is working with. Potentially comparable buildings designed by
Pickard Chilton, located in Oklahoma City, were used as
temporary placeholders here (KJP/Google).

They said that points to site preparations and foundations being dug in mid- to late-2022. Steel for the buildings will start going up in 2023. Although SHW employees wont be moving in until 2025, the sources said the HQ parking garage should be finished a year before.

But there’s good news to share, too. Development team members informed NEOtrans that the new HQ is being designed to accommodate 3,500 employees. That’s 500 more employees than are currently based in SHW’s existing HQ (even though many are still working remotely for a little while longer).

SHW’s total headcount will reportedly come from four locations/sources:

  • About 3,000 workers from SHW’s existing downtown Cleveland HQ offices in the Landmark and Skylight office buildings,
  • Relocation of roughly 140 employees from SHW Automotive Division offices in Warrensville Heights,
  • Relocation of 25 workers from SHW’s Chicago Metro District Office in Schaumburg, IL, and
  • Addition of approximately 240 employees through an 8 percent corporate growth factor.
On the upper floors of the Pickard Chilton-designe Qualtrics
Tower in Seattle, the offices are designed to foster interaction
while providing some privacy as well. Such concepts may
be incorporated into SHW’s new HQ (Centrel Imagery).

These numbers may take the sting out of SHW’s decision to move the John G. Breen Research Center from Canal Road in downtown Cleveland to Brecksville. The existing R&D center has about 300-400 jobs. Roughly 250 research jobs are being relocated from Warrensville Heights to Brecksville, too. Warrensville Heights is taking the brunt of SHW’s corporation relocation decisions.

SHW’s February 2020 press release initially proposed their employment at the new HQ and R&D facilities would be a total of 3,500 workers. So downtown Cleveland will actually see more jobs gained at the new HQ than it will lose from the relocation of SHW’s R&D center.

A number of SHW facilities in Greater Cleveland will not be moving to either the new HQ or the new R&D center, according to development team sources. The facilities staying put include:

  • Engineering Robotics Lab (Parma)
  • Mock Store for training (Berea)
  • Hinckley Parkway flex offices (Cleveland)
  • Credit office (Brunswick)
  • Midwest Division (Strongsville)
  • PCG and East Area Office (Garfield Heights)
  • Exposure Site (Medina)
  • Specialty Aerosols (Bedford)
The 22,000-square-foot Devon Energy Center Auditorium located in
downtown Oklahoma City reportedly is a comparable structure,
albeit smaller, to SHW’s proposed Center of Excellence on
downtown Cleveland’s Public Square (ArchDaily).

NEOtrans has reported on recent sample works of exterior designs by SHW HQ architect Pickard Chilton, namely in Oklahoma City. But little has been said here about the potential interior designs of the SHW HQ. Pickard Chilton recently finished up work at the new Qualtrics Tower in Seattle and the interior design staff from that project will be working on SHW’s HQ, sources said.

SHW executives have directed the HQ development team to keep the interior aesthetics simple. The executives reportedly prefer an open floor plan for office staff with a lot more cubicles and a lot less enclosed offices. Although SHW wants to incorporate lots of color in the offices, executives don’t want the building to exude arrogance either.

As reported previously, the 1-million-square-foot HQ tower will be a modern glass box, bearing a similarity to the exterior design of the 700,000-square-foot, 27-story BOK Park Plaza in Oklahoma City.

SHW’s tower will be a little larger in terms of floorplates and height, reportedly reaching about 30-35 stories with about 14 to 15 feet per floor. Final height will depend on the interior design which is only getting started. Sources said the tower will rise on the northwest corner of Superior Avenue and West 3rd Street.

A modern glass box, similar to the BOK Park
Plaza tower in Oklahoma City is reportedly a
comparable building to what SHW wants in
downtown Cleveland (Pickard Chilton).

But the HQ tower will not have any “active uses” (ie: publicly accessible retail, restaurants or other commercial uses) on the ground floor, said HQ development team sources. The reason is that SHW is very security conscious. There will be a coffee shop and cafeteria on the second level of the HQ but will be for employees only.

Similarly, SHW’s proposed new 50,000- to 80,000-square-foot Center of Excellence (CoE), to be located on the lot closest to Public Square, probably won’t be open to the public either, the same sources said. Instead, it will be limited to SHW corporate meetings, training and tours by invitation only.

The CoE’s so-called museum which illustrates SHW’s 155-year history measures only 6,000-square-feet in SHW’s current HQ on 101 W. Prospect Ave. It will likely retain that scale in the new CoE and continue its existing purpose — for tours to job seekers, clients and VIPs.

SHW interviews 2,000-3,000 people per year for jobs. During their HQ visits, they are given a tour of the existing CoE. And when elected officials like mayors and governors visit, they are also given a CoE tour.

There apparently will be a publicly accessible part of the new HQ, but only because the city’s building code requires it, sources said. The HQ’s parking garage, to be located northwest of the Frankfort Avenue-West 3rd intersection, will have a store front on the ground level facing West 3rd. There will not any active uses along Frankfort which SHW’s HQ development team considers to be an alley.


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