by Chris Collins
A chain-link fence surrounds the former Veterans Administration Hospital complex in Brecksville, and banners announce that the property is being developed by DiGeronimo Companies. The 103-acre plot is dotted with piles of concrete and yellow bricks where VA buildings once stood.
The new project is named Valor Acres to pay homage to the thousands of veterans treated at the VA facility. Plans call for the site to be a mixed-use development of offices, laboratories, residences, retail, hotels, restaurants and hospitals. It is not known if DiGeronimo, based in Independence, has any signed agreements from potential tenants. The company did not respond to inquiries about the status of the project.
One major Cleveland corporation may be shopping for a new headquarters site, and some sources speculate the company could be considering Valor Acres.
Cleveland-based blogger Ken Prendergrast writes about local commercial real estate in his blog, NEOtrans, and he has written several times that Sherwin-Williams may be searching for a new home.
The company known mainly for its paint and paint supplies has occupied the Landmark Building on Prospect Avenue since 1930 and has two other area sites, a research and development lab on Breen Road in Cleveland and an office in Willoughby. The company also acquired the Valspar paint brand in 2017, including a research and development lab in Minneapolis.
Prendergrast wrote that the company is seeking to consolidate its corporate headquarters and R&D labs in one location. That would require about 1.3 million square feet of space, roughly equivalent to the size of the 57-story Key Tower in downtown Cleveland.
In response to a question about the company’s relocation plans, Mike Conway, director of corporate communications at Sherwin-Williams, emailed: “Sherwin-Williams continuously evaluates facility needs and requirements for our ever-expanding global paint and coatings business. Our regular business planning practices call for such analysis on an ongoing basis.”
In 2004, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs announced plans to shutter the Brecksville VA hospital, but it wasn’t until 2011 that the facility closed and operations were moved to the Louis B. Stokes VA Medical Center in Cleveland.
The government donated the land to the city of Brecksville, and voters agreed in 2016 to allow the city to create an overlay zoning district, allowing mixed-use development on the property. The city created a Community Improvement Corporation and signed a 15-year agreement with DiGeronimo to develop and market the site in 2018.
DiGeronimo will pay Brecksville $5 million for the site, with $1 million already paid and $47,000 to be paid for each acre of land as it is developed. The company has two years to demolish the structures and remediate the site for new construction and another 13 years to complete the project.