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Paint Giant Sherwin-Williams Eyeing Atlanta For HQ Relocation

Atlanta is in the running to lure the headquarters of a global Fortune 500 company.

Sherwin Williams current Southeast division at Century Center office park in Atlanta.

Cleveland-based Sherwin-Williams has eyed Atlanta as a possible relocation destination for its headquarters and research and development operations, a source familiar with the search tells Bisnow. It is a move that could potentially add up to 2,000 new jobs to the metro area.

“I think the early favorites here, based on everything I heard, is Atlanta, Dallas and Charlotte,” The Boyd Co. principal John Boyd said. Boyd is a noted site selection consultant for private companies, although he is not working directly with Sherwin-Williams in its hunt.

"The common denominator to those three markets is excellent air service," Boyd said. "And also the presence of a top university that is highly regarded in chemical sciences."

Officials with Sherwin-Williams announced in September that the company was on the hunt for a potential new headquarters and R&D facility, with a move occurring in 2023 at the earliest. The search includes multiple potential sites in Cleveland, Northeast Ohio and several other unidentified states.

Currently, the company's headquarters is housed in a 1930s era office building in Downtown Cleveland called Landmark Office Towers at 101 West Prospect Ave. It occupies other downtown buildings for other functions.

The company already has its Southeast division office in Atlanta, with 48K SF at 2800 Century Parkway in Atlanta, according to CoStar.

Sherwin Williams' circa 1930s headquarters building in Downtown Cleveland

"The company's significant growth and global expansion over the last several decades has resulted in a less than optimal configuration of headquarters, offices and R&D facilities across multiple locations," Sherwin-Williams Chairman and CEO John G. Morikis said in a release. "Given the limitations of our current footprint and driven by the needs of our customers, we are exploring options that will help us to accelerate productivity and efficiency, enhance technology and innovation, enable greater collaboration, support recruitment and retention and reduce maintenance costs over the long term."

A spokesperson for Sherwin Williams, when reached by Bisnow, wouldn't confirm which cities the company is considering.

“This comprehensive exploration is a transparent process looking out into the future for the next 100 years,” Sherwin-Williams Communications Director Mike Conway wrote in an email. "It includes evaluating buildings and land in Cleveland, NE Ohio, across the state of Ohio, and other states to make sure we find the long-term opportunity to best serve our customers, employees, shareholders, and communities where we do business."

Sherwin-Williams officials were in the Metro Atlanta area earlier this year scouting sites, a source said, but it is unclear where their search took them.

Atlanta has had its notable share of major headquarters wins and losses in recent years. Most recently, the region lured railway giant Norfolk Southern to Atlanta from Virginia. That company is building a new headquarters tower in Midtown.

The headquarters for the parent company of the fast-food chain Arby's and Mercedes-Benz's North American division were two of the bigger wins for Atlanta in recent years.

But there have been some losses as well. The recent merger of BB&T and SunTrust Bank means the state is losing SunTrust's headquarters to Charlotte. After Fiserv purchased Atlanta-based First Data, the combined company moved its headquarters to Fiserv's home in Milwaukee.

The state also was among the finalist cities for Amazon's second headquarters project, for which the state offered $2B in incentives. That deal, in an unusually public search, went to Northern Virginia.

Sherwin-Williams is eyeing a variety of solutions for a new headquarters. That includes building new, separate headquarters and R&D facilities, one combined location, or even renovating its current Cleveland locations, reported. The company employs nearly 3,000 people at its Cleveland headquarters and another 320 workers at its R&D facility.

Boyd said as Sherwin-Williams has grown, Cleveland has become constricting from both a travel and labor standpoint.

“Just look at the label on the can: Cover the world. This is a global company,” Boyd said. "I think they feel very constrained in Cleveland. It's a very tight labor market. I just think it's time for a change. And this is a company that really has prioritized international sales.”