Friday, November 15, 2019

Sherwin-Williams files permits with Cleveland prior to acquiring downtown land

Sherwin-Williams continued to take steps this week in the
direction of selecting the Jacobs and Weston lots west of
downtown Cleveland's Public Square for its new global
headquarters and research facilities (Geowizical).
Twelve certificates of disclosure were filed Nov. 15 with the City of Cleveland's Building Department by an unidentified buyer that is ultimately seeking to acquire all 5.65 acres of Weston Group-owned properties in the "Superblock" west of downtown Cleveland's Public Square.

Although the buyer wasn't identified, a source earlier this week notified NEOtrans in advance that Sherwin-Williams (SHW) would be filing the certificates as part of its efforts to secure the downtown properties.

The Superblock, so-called because of its large size, is bounded by Superior and St. Clair avenues, plus West 3rd and West 6th streets. It is located in downtown's Warehouse District.

A certificate of disclosure provides violation/condemnation and legal use information from the city so that the potential property buyer can make a well-informed decision about the property it is seeking.

Building department records show that the certificates were filed by First American Commercial Due Diligence Services which is headquartered in Norman, Oklahoma. It also has an office in Cleveland.

The Jacobs and Weston lots are outlined in red (Google).
Ironically, commercial firms don't have to file certificates of disclosure before buying a property, a Cleveland city official said. Plus, there won't be much information for the buyer to get since there are no buildings on the properties and the parking lots won't remain as parking. Lastly, the buyer could have just sent a zoning letter to the city for free rather than pay $60 per certificate filed and gotten more information from the city.

Filing certificates of disclosure with the city doesn't guarantee that a property transfer will occur. For example, last January a real estate developer filed a certificate of disclosure with the city regarding the old Westinghouse plant near Edgewater Park.

But the developer, Sustainable Community Associates, couldn't make the numbers work for its proposed mixed-use redevelopment and dropped its plans in August.

A source closely involved with SHW's efforts to develop a new headquarters plus research and development (HQ+R&D) facilities said that SHW had secured a purchase contract with Weston "months ago" to buy its Superblock properties.

Until a purchase is finalized, however, SHW can walk away from the contract if it gets a better deal for another site or if it finds fault with the Superblock.

No similar certificates were filed as of Nov. 15 for the 1.17-acre Jacobs Group-owned parking lot on Public Square, which two other sources close to the SHW HQ+R&D project confirmed is part of the project site.

Survey crews were working in the Weston lots two weeks ago
and in the Jacobs lot this week, taking soil samples prior to
acquiring property and beginning detail design work (KJP).
Sometime this week, someone drilled what appeared to be fresh geotechnical survey holes in the Jacobs lot. They were likely drilled during the overnight hours so as not to disrupt daytime parking -- or possibly to avoid attracting the same kind of attention that similar drilling in the Weston lots two weeks ago attracted.

Similarly, no certificate was filed for the former Stark Enterprises headquarters at the southwest corner of West 3rd and St. Clair. It is the only building left standing within the Superblock. Stark sold the building last December to Realife Real Estate Group for $2.65 million before moving its offices to 629 Euclid Ave.

According to two Cleveland city officials who spoke off the record, Sherwin-Williams (SHW) will announce the site for its new global headquarters and research (HQ+R&D) facilities next month.

A source says that Bedrock Cleveland hasn't given up in its efforts to win SHW support for building its HQ on a parking lot between the Cuyahoga River and Bedrock-owned Tower City Center. The Bedrock site has been identified by several sources as SHW's second-favorite location for its new HQ+R&D.

But all indications from insider sources continue to point to the Fortune 500 firm announcing a 1.8-million-square-foot HQ+R&D complex, plus hundreds of thousands of square feet worth of structured parking, to rise on the 6.77 acres of land owned by the Jacobs and Weston groups west of Cleveland's Public Square.

The public filings of Nov. 15 show that SHW continues to move in that direction.



  1. This makes me nervous. I was already wary of the "Opportunity Corridor", as it managed to be both a flimsy cover for the highway extension that failed AND threaten gentrification to the neighborhood. Dropping a police headquarters in an almost entirely black and poor neighborhood that's being primed for "redevelopment" seems built to abuse power against the community. I'm hopeful they do this right, but placing a stronger police presence in an already over-targeted neighborhood while calling it an "opportunity corridor" sounds almost Orwellian.

  2. You probably wanted to post your comment following the CPD HQ article.