Sherwin-Williams Reveals Final HQ Designs, Including Lighting, Branding

Michelle Jarboe, Crain's

The Sherwin-Williams Co. expects to start site preparations this month in downtown Cleveland's Warehouse District, on parking lots marked for the company's new headquarters.

As the coatings giant moves toward a formal groundbreaking, which is likely to occur in January, Sherwin-Williams is seeking final design approvals from a quartet of city commissions and committees. Architects submitted a bundle of images to the city on Tuesday, Nov. 16, in preparation for a public meeting set for Nov. 30.

The package shows how Sherwin-Williams plans to enhance and unify its three-building campus through colorful lighting and landscaping. Detailed renderings also depict understated signage on the east and west faces of the 36-story office tower, which will bear the company's name — but not the recognizable logo of a paint-covered planet.

Architects at Pickard Chilton and Vocon made few adjustments to the design and layout of the buildings — a two-level pavilion that will sit just west of Public Square, a skyscraper at the northwest corner of West Third Street and Superior Avenue and a parking garage to the north.

But the designers did trim the footprint of the 920-space garage, making it taller and slimmer in response to feedback from public review bodies. The structure now will rise five stories above the ground, instead of four, and will sit farther back from St. Clair Avenue.

That change maintains the capacity of the garage while giving Sherwin-Williams room to add a bay — if there's a need for 300 additional spaces. Perhaps more importantly, though, the reduced footprint leaves more of the surrounding block open for other types of development, from housing or a boutique hotel to offices, restaurants or even national retailers.

Sherwin-Williams has earmarked the L-shaped perimeter of the block, along St. Clair and West Sixth Street, for such complementary projects. Creating a deeper site along St. Clair offers the eventual developer, or developers, more flexibility, said Tim Muckley, director of corporate real estate, during a meeting this week at the company's historic office complex downtown.

The new tower and garage will be linked by a skybridge over Frankfort Avenue, a slim street that the city vacated between West Third and West Sixth. A second, more prominent overhead walkway will stretch over West Third, connecting the office building to the pavilion, designed to serve as the front door to the campus.

Atmospheric renderings show geometric lawns and walking paths around the pavilion, which will have a similarly patterned roof accented with precast concrete, aluminum and rocks.

Sherwin-Williams considered putting a landscaped roof on the low-slung building, which will be visible from the surrounding office and residential towers. The company decided against greenery, though, due to advice from an avian consultant who is working with the project team to discourage birds from nesting on, and potentially flying into, the buildings, Muckley said.

The lighting plan for the complex centers on a zipper-like line that runs up the middle of the tower's east and west sides. Those notches will hold programmable, color-changing lights stretching from the top of the building down to the ground.

The color scheme will spill onto the illuminated ceiling of the skywalk over West Third and flow into the pavilion, where lights will frame the entrances and other areas of the building.

On Monday, Nov. 15, the Cleveland Board of Zoning Appeals approved modest variances for the project. The change to the garage footprint probably will require an amendment to one of those variances, said Matt Heisey, a principal at Cleveland-based Vocon.

But the upcoming design review, by the Cleveland City Planning Commission, Cleveland Landmarks Commission and two advisory committees, will be the last major public discussion of the project before construction gets underway.

Sherwin-Williams expects to move into its new headquarters in late 2024. Muckley said the company could put its longtime home, the Landmark Office Towers on Prospect Avenue, up for sale during the first half of 2022.

Last month, Sherwin-Williams broke ground for a new research and development hub in Brecksville. That facility, which will replace space in the city and the suburbs, also is scheduled to open in late 2024.