Sherwin-Williams’ Latest Renderings of Downtown Headquarters Show Attempt to be ‘Transparent’
Eric Heisig, cleveland.com
Sherwin-Williams, in its most detailed plans yet for its new downtown Cleveland headquarters, revealed that it wants to build a series of glassy structures that it claims will not only be a major addition to the city’s skyline, but also act as a welcoming presence to pedestrians.
Officials with the paint giant, during a meeting with reporters at its current Prospect Avenue headquarters, unveiled the next – and close to final – iteration of its plans, including the look of the 36-story building, 50,000 square-foot, two-story pavilion to the east and four-story, 920-space parking garage directly north. Two overhead walkways would connect the three buildings.
The company on Tuesday submitted its plans to the city for review.
Architect David Brown described the tower, slated to top out at 616 feet with sections of the roof slanting both north and south, as drawing from the “square point towers” aspects of the nearby Terminal Tower and Key Tower buildings while also attempting to make its own mark.
“I think for us through this is trying to kind of pick up on that language (of the surrounding buildings) a little bit, but not kind of be a direct carbon copy of that,” Brown, of the Connecticut-based Pickard Chilton firm, said via videoconference.
A committee of members of the Cleveland City Planning and Landmarks commissions will review the new designs at a Sept. 14 meeting. Then, the city in November is slated to review more details, which would include color choices and a more fine-tuned design. The company will seek the final approval at that meeting.
The company does not anticipate the overall designs to substantially change from what was presented Tuesday.
The new designs are the next step in what has become a more than 18-month-long unveiling of plans for its new 1 million square-foot downtown headquarters and a 500,000 square foot research and development campus in suburban Brecksville.
The company, buoyed by more than $100 million in public incentives for what is estimated to be a $600 million investment in Cuyahoga County, plans to start work on both facilities later this year and move its employees from its current headquarters and research facilities by the end of 2024.
Tuesday’s meeting frequently featured iterations of the word “transparency.” Vocon architecture firm Principal Matt Heisey said Sherwin-Williams has a design with many windows to ensure the public could experience as much of the pavilion as possible from the outside. The pavilion acts as a sort-of entrance and welcome center to the company’s headquarters.
“We, in fact, are not developing inward looking boxes,” he said. “We are attempting to be as transparent, as open as possible in the entire pavilion.”
While the company is building on much of the nearly 7 acres it purchased last year, it plans to use some of the space for surface parking and possibly develop it in the coming years. Property directly west of the tower is earmarked for a possible second office building, while space west and north of the parking garage could become commercial space and apartments, respectively.
The city committee in July gave its preliminary approval to Sherwin-Williams’ plans for the tower and pavilion. Members praised the project. However, it withheld an OK for plans for the parking garage and how it would use remaining space on the garage’s north and west sides for surface lots. Some expressed concern that there would not be enough parking for future expansion.
However, the size of the parking structure hasn’t changed since the company first submitted its plans in July. Sherwin-Williams believes the concerns were addressed in the latest iteration. Corporate Real Estate Director Tim Muckley said the company could add a parking garage on the lower levels of a new building should it determine it needs more spots.
Employees who park in the garage would use a portion of Frankfort Avenue the City Council agreed this month to vacate. Heisey said the company undertook traffic and pedestrian studies that, while not complete, preliminarily support their design decisions.
Officials also said they discussed strategy on placing 2,400 square feet of retail space along the side of the garage facing West Third Street. After meeting with residents, workers, business owners and developers for feedback sessions in August, they determined that stretch of road remains the best place to put storefronts. That also led architects to work on designs for the façade of that side of the garage.
“We looked at that retail strategy and we said, ‘how successful would retail be along Frankfort?’” Muckley said. “And the overwhelming response was ‘that’s going to fail and it’s not going to work very well.’ So we really said ‘OK, well, let’s focus on where it really should be.’ That’s the West Third Side.”