Ground Broken on Cleveland Center

Developed by Merchandise Mart Properties Inc., a division of Vornado Realty Trust, the $465 million Medical Mart & Convention Center has already attracted commitments from a lengthy list of convention planners as well as businesses hoping to pre-lease space.

January 19, 2011
By Barbra Murray, Contributing Editor

With a ceremonial groundbreaking, work is officially underway on the Cleveland Medical Mart & Convention Center in Cleveland, Ohio. Developed on behalf of Cuyahoga County by Merchandise Mart Properties Inc., a division of Vornado Realty Trust, the $465 million project has already attracted commitments from a lengthy list of convention planners as well as businesses hoping to pre-lease space.

Crews are at the ready to lay the groundwork for the demolition of five buildings, abatement and other such preparation activities to make way for Cleveland MMCC. The development will encompass the 235,000 square-foot, four-story Medial Mart for the display of cutting-edge technology and products in the healthcare market, and will sit adjacent to the 230,000 square-foot Convention Center, which will include 90,000 square feet of dedicated meeting space and sit underneath the historic Cleveland malls.

Cleveland MMCC will be the first of its kind in the U.S.; the combination of a medical industry-centric permanent showroom building and a convention center is an entirely new concept, and a timely one at that. The healthcare industry, from the construction of new hospitals to the development of healthcare-related manufacturing facilities, is growing enormously, a spokesperson for Cleveland MMCC told CPE. With permanent showrooms in the Medical Mart and visitors to the Convention Center, Cleveland MMCC will provide a means of putting industry buyers and sellers together in one place. The property will centralize medical industry innovators, medical education programs and healthcare commerce.

Already 57 businesses in such fields as medical device development, healthcare information technology and medical education are negotiating contracts for mart space. And 31 conferences, conventions, and trade shows are planning events at the convention center. The spokesperson asserts that Cleveland is the medical capital of the country–Cleveland Clinic is one of the top hospitals in the U.S.–as well as a hub for healthcare-related product production. It’s Cleveland’s niche, he said. The concept is all about the synergy of the integrated showroom model; temporary exhibits located adjacent to permanent showrooms. Literally, the convention center will bring the customers directly to Medical Mart occupants. It is a model that MMPI has successfully implemented at its other facilities from the West Coast to the East Coast and points in between.