Sherwin-Williams R&D facility will anchor redevelopment of former Brecksville VA hospital02/07/20
BRECKSVILLE, Ohio – Government and business leaders Thursday heralded the news that the Sherwin-Williams Co. will move its research and development facility here, anchoring the redevelopment of a 103-acre former hospital campus off of Interstate 77.
“We are excited about Sherwin-Williams plans, which would bring an infusion of jobs and additional tax revenue into our community,” Brecksville Mayor Jerry Hruby said in a statement in the company’s news release. “We believe the new R&D center in Brecksville would be a catalyst to attract increased office, residential, hospitality and retail investment.”
Hruby did not respond to a phone call Thursday seeking additional comment. The Plain Dealer also reached out to Brecksville city council’s president and vice president but did not hear back.
Sherwin-Williams announced that it will keep its corporate headquarters in downtown Cleveland, at a new facility it will build on parking lots just west of Public Square. It will move its R&D facility, currently at the Breen Technology Center along the Cuyahoga River in downtown Cleveland, to the former U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs property at the northwest corner of Brecksville and Miller roads. Sherwin-Williams will invest at least $600 million total in the two projects.
The move to the new Brecksville facilities will not take place until 2023 at the earliest.
The future R&D center also will house workers who will move from a Warrensville Heights facility, according to the company.
In all, the two facilities will house 3,500 workers, with room to add more. It was unclear Thursday how many of those workers would be based at the Brecksville site. Asked about this, a company spokeswoman said she did not have further information to share at this time.
At a press conference Thursday afternoon, Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson said his administration tried to keep the R&D center in Cleveland, but Sherwin-Williams could not find a site big enough to fit its needs.
"We had a difficult time accumulating the kind of acreage that they would need to have a joint headquarters and research facility that allowed for the expansion that they know they would need in the future,” he said.
He said the company considered “several” possible R&D sites in Cleveland, all of them downtown.
The Brecksville facility will occupy 500,000 square feet at the site, which is being redeveloped by Independence-based DiGeronimo Companies. The city has been working with DiGeronimo on a mixed-use redevelopment of the property. The project has been dubbed “Valor Acres.”
The Valor Acres website describes the property as “the soon-to-be home of Sherwin-Williams employees and the premier mixed-use live-work-play real-estate development in the Cleveland-Akron corridor.” The project appears to include plans for residential, retail and hospitality components, in addition to offices.
DiGeronimo did not respond to a phone call Thursday, but said in a statement on its website that the company is “aware” of the Sherwin-Williams announcement and “thrilled” for Northeast Ohio, Cleveland and Brecksville.
“This news is the culmination of significant efforts by many and is validation of our philosophy of treating our business partners as family; and building trust with stakeholders before building the real estate,” the statement reads. “While it is far too early in the process to comment on the project specifics, we look forward to sharing our enhanced vision for Valor Acres and the surrounding area when it is appropriate to do so.”
Kris Toth, president of the Brecksville Chamber of Commerce, said he is glad to see something other than retail being included in Valor Acres.
“[Sherwin-Williams is] obviously going to be an anchor here,” he said.
He and chamber Executive Director Jon Kozesky said they believe the R&D facility will rank among the city’s top employers. Other large employers include the Lubrizol Advanced Materials, Inc. headquarters and R&D center on Brecksville Road, and CrossCountry Mortgage on Miller Road, they noted.
“We are very excited to welcome Sherwin-Williams R&D headquarters to our Brecksville family of businesses. Their local retail store has been a member of [the chamber] for many years, and we are excited to not only grow our relationship, but help them grow the impact they make on individuals living in and around our wonderful community,” Kozesky said. “While we are home to many large employers ... this expansion will surely make Sherwin Williams one of our top employers, and a wonderful anchor” to Valor Acres.
Sherwin-Williams is in talks with local and state entities, including the city, on possible financial incentives.
“Approvals of the Company’s economic development packages and other matters remain pending and are expected over the next several months,” the company said.
Asked whether it plans to own its future facilities, a Sherwin-Williams spokesman said, “It is too early in the process to confirm these details.”
This was also Sherwin-Williams’ response to a question about how many acres of the Valor Acres site it will occupy. Based on a map provided by the company, it appears it will take up at least half.
The news was also lauded by U.S. Rep. Dave Joyce, R-14, whose district includes Brecksville.
“After years of relentless efforts, Mayor Hruby’s vision to repurpose the vacant VA hospital and bring new investment to Brecksville has become a reality,” Joyce said in a statement. "I look forward to seeing the new jobs and economic growth this new center will bring to Brecksville and expect it to ignite continued investment in the Buckeye State for years to come.”
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