History of

Landmark Office Towers

 

    Landmark Office Towers is an 18-story office complex built between 1928 and 1931 by the Van Sweringen Brothers at a cost of approximately $20 million.  The exterior of the building is faced with limestone and embellished with Art Deco details.

    At first look, Landmark Office Towers appears to be one building, but it actually consists of 3 inter-connected structures plus the Terminal Parking Garage, comprising over 1 million square feet of office and retail space.  The 3 building structures are known today as the Midland Building, the Guildhall Building, and the Republic Building.  These 3 buildings were part of the major development project undertaken by Clevelanders, O.P. and M.J. Van Sweringen.  Called The Terminal Tower Group, the project also included construction of a train station, hotel, department store, post office, and the Terminal Tower, the tallest structure in the City.

    The Van Sweringens began acquiring land for their dream project in 1921.  For several years, their undertakings held the record as the largest construction project in the United States, surpassed only by New York City's Rockefeller Center complex in 1931.

    Because of the complex challenges the Van Sweringen Brothers faced during construction caused by the close proximity of the construction site to the Cuyahoga River, the hill between the site and the River had to be graded to accommodate railroad trains.  Bridges were needed to serve as foundations for several of the structures that were built over railroad tracks.  Because of this unusual design, the Van Sweringens pioneered the concept of "air rights," the right to use all or a portion of the air space above existing real estate.  Thus, Landmark Office Towers holds the distinction of being the first air rights project in the United States.

          The Republic Building:

Construction  began on what was then named the Medical Arts Building in 1928.  It was originally targeted as a prime location for medical offices; however, in 1936, the Republic Steel Corporation moved its headquarters into the building, and it was renamed the Republic Building.  In the mid-1960's when Republic Steel merged with LTV Corporation, the Building was renamed the LTV Building.  Then, in the mid-1990's, LTV vacated the Building, and the Building took back the Republic Building identity.

          The Guildhall Building:

The construction on what was then named the Builders Exchange Building also started in 1928, and it was designed as office space for the construction industry.  On its 18th floor was an exhibit hall that showcased the latest building materials and designs.  Open to the public, one of its most popular features was a two-and-a-half story model home.  Called "the home in the sky," the model stood in place until 1940.  The Building was renamed the Guildhall Building when the Builders Exchange vacated the premises in 1941.    View of House in the Sky

          The Midland Building:

    The third building, designed as the headquarters for the Midland Bank, was begun in 1929.  It featured an elegant and expansive 3-story main banking lobby decorated in the Art Deco style.  Its floors were reinforced to support 5 bank vaults whose doors weighed 22 tons each.  It is the only building in the Landmark Office Towers' complex to retain its original name.

    The Midland Building's showcase today is its restored lobby, renamed the Van Sweringen Arcade, to commemorate the Van Sweringen Brothers' architectural prowess.  From the ornate ceiling to the travertine marble floor and the English Oak paneling, many skilled professionals were used to return the Van Sweringen Arcade to its original splendor at a cost in excess of $4 million.  The Midland Lobby was renamed and dedicated on November 21, 1986, as the Van Sweringen Arcade in Landmark Office Towers, and for the first time, the Van Sweringen name is attached to one of their notable creations in Cleveland.

   Since 1930, the 3 buildings, known today as Landmark Office Towers, have housed the corporate headquarters of The Sherwin-Williams Company.

   The Van Sweringen Brothers had plans to build a fourth building, but because of the serious financial problems caused by The Depression, the brothers were forced to sell the 3 buildings to a group called, The Prospect Terminal Building Company.

   In 1940, this group sold the complex to a pension fund of Textron, Inc. of Providence, Rhode Island.

   In the 1950's, there were 4 major tenants leasing space in the complex -- Republic Steel Corporation, Erie-Lackawanna Railroad, Sohio, and Sherwin-Williams.  These 4 tenants joined together to create Ress Realty (its name was based on the first initial of the 4 company names) to lease and manage the complex.

   During the 1980's, Sherwin-Williams acquired the majority of the leases in the complex, and, in 1985, Sherwin-Williams purchased the complex.

   Today Landmark Office Towers is owned by Sherwin-Williams and managed by Landmark Office Towers, the facility management arm of Sherwin-Williams.