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Commissioners Expected to Sign Convention/Medical Mart Deal Today

Thursday, March 20, 2008 at 5:00 AM

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Cuyahoga County Commissioners are expected to sign a written agreement this morning that will put plans for a convention center and medical mart in downtown Cleveland into motion. ideastream’s Economics reporter Tasha Flournoy has this report.

County negotiator Fred Nance will present a memorandum of understanding to the County Commissioners that puts what was agreed to verbally last week on paper.  As part of the deal Merchandise Mart Properties will manage both the medical mart and the convention center.  The Chicago-based company will also invest 20 million dollars into the project.  Here’s County Administrator Dennis Madden: 

Dennis Madden: The 20 million will be expected to go toward initially the recruiting of permanent tenants for the medical mart portion of the project.

The entire project—a combination of tradeshow halls, showrooms, and a conference center is estimated to cost 400 million dollars. The county’s financial obligation will be capped at roughly 40 million dollars a year or the annual amount generated from the sales tax increase. Madden says the county will receive 100 percent of the naming proceeds. 

Still no location has been determined yet. The current convention center and Tower City, which is owned by Forest City Enterprises, are strong candidates. Just this week, Forest City laid out a plan that would connect a center and mart in the Tower City complex.

Tasha Flournoy, 90.3.

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