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Forest City Still Vying For Convention Center/Medical Mart

Thursday, February 26, 2009 at 5:25 PM

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Cleveland's Forest City Enterprises wants to open the debate once more on where to build a downtown medical mart and convention center. It unveiled its latest proposal today. ideastream®'s Bill Rice reports.

Last summer the Greater Cleveland Partnership recommended Forest City’s property along the Cuyahoga River behind Tower city as the best site for the combined medical products showroom and convention center.  The partnership liked the fact that it was adjacent to the transportation hub of the city - making access easy - and close to amenities like restaurants, Progressive Field, the Q, and other entertainment venues.  But last month, Cuyahoga County’s Commissioners announced they had chosen to build on the site of the existing convention center on the downtown mall, citing cost as the deciding factor.  That sent Forest City back to the drawing board to come up with a competitive design that would put its property back in play.  This latest proposal does that, says company president David Larue. 

LaRue:  “The plan that we put out there today shows that if we really want to look at this in an apples to apples basis, we’re very capable of being efficient in producing what we think are substantial cost savings.”

The new Tower City proposal prices out at 398 million dollars - about 135 million less than the original, and 26 million cheaper than the mall site estimate. 

Larue will travel to Chicago on March tenth to show its new proposal to executives at Merchandise Mart Properties, the county’s private partner in the project. 

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