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Global Center for Health Innovation a Work in Progress

Cuyahoga County Executive Armond Budish was inaugurated in 2015 in the main lobby of the Global Center, which offers a view of downtown Cleveland. (Nick Castele / ideastream)

The Global Center for Health Innovation has announced its latest big tenant: California-based technology giant Cisco. That means 85 percent of the space is now rented. But as ideastream's Sarah Jane Tribble reports, there's still a lot of work to be done.  

With its sparkling white exterior rising next to an open green lawn in downtown Cleveland, the Global Center is the most visible part of a $465 million, taxpayer-funded complex that includes the city's new convention center. 

Cisco moved into a 900-square-foot space a couple of months ago and it's been a learning curve, the company's Christie Marquez said. 

"We're starting to get a little, a little traffic. It's a learning...because we honestly, Cisco has never had a space like this," Marquez said. "Our spaces have always been in our buildings."

Cisco's show room has video conferencing screens that display how the company can connect hospitals, doctors and patients in a variety of ways.

The Silicon Valley giant is the latest company to join since the Global Center opened last year. Others include Siemens, Johnson Controls, GE Healthcare and local hospitals. The idea is to attract health industry executives from around the world to come to the Center and learn how each of the different companies here can provide support and resources to grow their health organizations.

But the Global Center is a work in progress, and everyone inside is still trying to figure out just how this one year old venture will work. 

In his state of the county speech earlier this year, Cuyahoga County Executive Armond Budish announced he had created an executive advisory committee to "reignite" the center, saying it "has not yet come close to realizing its full potential, but we are taking steps to correct that." 

Former Cleveland Clinic executive Fred DeGrandis took over as the Center's director earlier this year. He said the center is projected to "break even" financially in about four years. 

During a recent tour of the Global Center, DeGrandis pointed to Cisco as an example of the Center's potential 

"Because they believe that the opportunity to be in a space like this connected to others has great opportunity for them, great opportunity for their clients, and certainly great opportunity for Cleveland," DeGrandis said. 

In the end, DeGrandis said, the center's success will be measured on by the number of conventions Cleveland can attract in order to bring foot traffic as well as business into the Global Center.