Welty Affiliate Buys Office Building Next to Sherwin-Williams HQ Site

Stan Bullard, Crain's

Compared with spending the next couple years in construction trailers, contractors overseeing construction of the Sherwin-Williams Co. headquarters complex in downtown Cleveland are headed for comparatively sumptuous offices in the five-floor Gilman Building, 1350 W. Third St.

According to Cuyahoga County land records, a new owner, 1350 W. III LLC, on Nov. 23 shelled out $3.38 million to 1350 W. 6 LLC, an affiliate of Realife Cleveland of Independence, for the only property not owned by Sherwin-Williams on the massive superblock just west of Public Square. The structure is the only one left standing on the site after decades of service as a vast parking field.

Tax bills for 1350 W. III go to the Fairlawn headquarters of Welty Building Co., which has been retained in a joint venture with Gilbane Building Co. to construct the megaproject.

Don Taylor, CEO of Welty, texted Crain's Cleveland Business a statement confirming the acquisition by Welty Development, a real estate development firm in which he is a principal.

"Near term plans are for the building to be used as a construction office for the Sherwin Williams HQ project at Public Square.  Long term plans have yet to be identified.," Taylor wrote...Welty is partnering with Gilbane Building Co. on the Sherwin-Williams building project. 

Potential use of the structure by the Welty/Gilbane joint venture and other contractors was telegraphed earlier by Tim Muckley, director of corporate real estate at Sherwin-Williams, at a media briefing Nov. 15 on the final design of the headquarters.

Muckley said there were discussions between the building's then-owner and the construction team for the project as an alternative to "having construction trailers spread all across there." Muckley said otherwise the building "doesn't really fit into our plans."

The company plans to locate a parking garage on the southern side of the Gilman to serve the high-rise building between West Superior Avenue and Frankfort avenues.

Lawyers for the Gilman's new owner filed a motion Nov. 24 in Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court for 1350 W. III to replace the prior owner, technically 1350 W. 6 LLC, in a pending lawsuit against Sherwin-Williams before Judge Michael J. Russo.

The 1350 W. 6 LLC company had filed suit in what's known as an adverse possession case. The prior owner argued it was entitled by past practice to continue to use a small parking lot next to the building. That was despite Sherwin-Williams gaining title to the parcel when it purchased the rest of the future headquarters and garage site.

Sherwin-Williams had blocked the parcel off from other use as part of preparing for construction on the site, denying the Gilman continued use of the parking lot.

Kenneth Fisher, the attorney for 1350 W. 6, said in a phone interview that he had closed his file on the case because his client no longer owned the property. He declined to discuss the transaction.

James Asimes, Realife's spokesman, did not return a phone call or email about the sale of the structure.

Land records do not show a clear sale price for how much 1350 W. 6 LLC (Realife) paid to acquire the former headquarters of Stark Enterprises of Cleveland in late 2018.

However, Stark in January 2020 filed in Common Pleas Court to foreclose on the building because 1350 W. 6th had stopped paying on a $1.6 million note it held against the property. The suit later was settled and Realife obtained a conventional mortgage for the property.

Cuyahoga County assigns the building a market value of $1.3 million for property tax purposes.

The structure dates from 1900, according to county records.