CLEVELAND — Since Sherwin-Williams announced in September that it needs a larger global headquarters, local and state leaders have been trying to compile tax breaks worth tens of millions of dollars to entice the company to remain here.
This week, Cuyahoga County approved money to hire a law firm to help draft and negotiate an incentive package with Sherwin-Williams. The county Board of Control, which has to approve certain expenses, signed off on a one-year contract worth up to $70,000 for the Cleveland law firm of Ulmer & Berne to help finalize a tax deal aimed at keeping the paint company here.
The Board of Control’s agenda says that the city of Cleveland also has hired a law firm to help structure a deal for its incentives.
County spokeswoman Eliza Wing said the county can’t discuss the details because of a non-disclosure agreement preventing it from talking about the potential incentives. The city didn’t respond to questions about its efforts to strike a deal. The state is also working on the deal.
But the public learned from the region's failed bid to win Amazon's second headquarters that leaders can create one-of-a-kind wage and property-tax incentives for big companies. It's unclear if similar breaks will be offered but given the company's $500 million payroll, Sherwin-Williams will likely receive attractive offers from Ohio and elsewhere.
A fixture in Cleveland for more than 150 years, Sherwin-Williams has deep roots in the form of experienced employees, which has long made the region the front runner for a new home. And several years ago, the company explored real estate options that include parking lots near Public Square as a possible for a future headquarters.