Sherwin-Williams’ headquarters plans win early design approval

A pair of city commissions approved conceptual plans Tuesday, July 20, for the Sherwin-Williams Co.’s new downtown Cleveland headquarters, a 36-story tower linked to a low-slung pavilion facing Public Square.

That early thumbs-up, from the Cleveland City Planning Commission and the Cleveland Landmarks Commission, came with a flurry of conditions.

Both boards, and most members of two advisory committees, seemed to like the overall layout of the project. But they pushed Sherwin-Williams to think bigger on Public Square and to look closely at traffic — on foot, by bicycle and in cars — around and through the site.

“We know that this is a once-in-a-lifetime investment, so we want to make sure that we get this right,” said Freddy Collier, the city’s planning director, during the three-hour meeting.

Architects working with Sherwin-Williams offered a first glimpse of the tower’s design. Topping out at 616 feet, the building could have a split crown, with one sloped roofline rising south toward Terminal Tower and another climbing north toward Lake Erie.

Vertical breaks in the facade would add visual texture, making the 28,500-square-foot floors feel slimmer from the outside, said Bill Chilton, a principal with Pickard Chilton, the firm responsible for the look and style of the project.

That hint at architecture was a teaser for a second public meeting set for Sept. 14. The commissions expect to vet final designs Nov. 30.

Sherwin-Williams, which also is planning a new research and development center in Brecksville, aims to break ground on the $300 million-plus headquarters project before the end of this year.

The company is likely to sell its existing home, the historic Landmark Office Towers on Prospect Avenue, along with its riverfront research building and an automotive-finishes complex in Warrensville Heights, said Tim Muckley, director of corporate real estate for the global coatings giant.

The new headquarters will rise from parking lots that have marred the central business district for decades. The site spans about 7 acres between Superior and St. Clair avenues, stretching from West Roadway at Public Square’s edge to West Sixth Street.

Initially, Sherwin-Williams expects to construct three buildings connected by two skybridges.

The company’s plans show a two-story pavilion west of Public Square, with a museum-like Center of Excellence on the first floor and a training center upstairs. Across West Third Street, the 1 million-square-foot tower would fill half of the block between Superior and Frankfort avenues. A 920-space garage would sit north of the tower.

The company’s longer-term scheme for the site includes a second, more modest office tower at Superior and West Sixth and mid-rise buildings — with retail, offices, housing and, perhaps, a hotel — concealing the garage from view along West Sixth and St. Clair.

Members of the city commissions and advisory committees said that the pavilion is too small. They also urged…

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