FAIRLAWN: A. Schulman Inc. officials on Tuesday marveled that it was fewer than 10 months ago when they broke ground on the company’s new headquarters.
Officials of the global polymer company recalled that they stood out in a hot field last July for the groundbreaking.
On Tuesday, they were in air-conditioned comfort as they celebrated the opening of the new sleek, glass, metal and brick one-story building at Cleveland-Massillon and Ridgewood roads in what is called the Fairlawn Corporate Park.
Gary Miller, Schulman chief procurement officer, told those gathered for the ribbon-cutting ceremony that Schulman accomplished its mission: stay in Fairlawn, while moving to a “distinctive, signature building” that could accommodate the headquarters staff of growing U.S. and global operations.
The new 34,000-square-foot headquarters — with large windows that allow for lots of natural light — are a contrast from its former headquarters in a nondescript office building about two miles away.
Schulman officials have said they were running out of usable space in that facility at 3550 W. Market St. The company had called that address its home since the early 1970s.
The new facility “is just very convenient, people are just very close and accessible,” said Paul Hardy, Schulman’s business manager for engineered plastics, U.S. operations. “That just makes it a much more efficient workplace.”
Hardy noted that the former headquarters was on two floors, and the new headquarters is on one. The U.S. operations employees are in one part of the building — which boasts a metal exterior — and the corporate staff is in the portion of the structure that features a brick exterior. Previously, they were intermingled.
Company Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer Joseph Gingo credited Fairlawn city officials with working hard to keep Schulman.
“Really, truthfully, if we couldn’t work out some accommodations [with Fairlawn], we would have had to look elsewhere,” Gingo said, “despite the fact that we didn’t honestly want to.”
Gingo said he has a corporate board “and they represent our shareholders.” He was referring to shareholders’ scrutiny of the cost associated with moving to a new facility.
The “accommodations” that the city ended up making for the company included selling 4.6 acres at the west end of the corporate park for the headquarters project. The city sold that land to the Landridge Development LLC of Twinsburg for the “favorable price” of $560,000, Fairlawn Mayor Bill Roth has said.
The city also paid for some infrastructure improvements.
Landridge owns the building and Schulman has a 20-year lease. Landridge bought Schulman’s old facility on West Market and plans to renovate it before looking for tenants. Landridge owner Mike Ritenour helped to design the structure.
Hardy, the Schulman business manager, and Todd Nichols, commercial manager for engineered plastics, U.S. operations, visited with ribbon-cutting attendees Tuesday, showing off items — such as car parts, food containers and window blinds — made with Schulman’s polymer products.
Schulman [Nasdaq: SHLM], with more than 3,000 employees worldwide, supplies color concentrates and additives, as well as polymer compounds, to other manufacturers. Earlier this year, the $2.1 billion company made a hostile takeover bid for specialty chemicals company Ferro Corp. of Mayfield Heights.
Katie Byard can be reached at 330-996-3781 or firstname.lastname@example.org