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Meeting News - November 10, 2008 - (Page 30)

Destination Insider: Cleveland Edited by William Ng william.ng@nielsen.com City Inches Toward New Convention Center Plan with Merchandise Mart Properties still targets a building launch in 2012 Terminal Tower is one of two proposed sites for Cleveland’s new convention center. The glacial pace toward a new convention center in Cleveland continues, frustrating business owners, civic boosters, and, perhaps most of all, planners whose meetings would make sense otherwise in the city.“We should have movement in the next couple of weeks,” after the local elections, said Cuyahoga County administrator Jim McCafferty. He said the county is still aiming for completion in late 2012. In August, the chamber of commerce’s siteselection committee recommended locating the convention center at Public Square, between the Cuyahoga River and Terminal Tower, Cleveland’s landmark building. The other site the committee studied extensively was an outdoor mall on the downtown lakefront, home to the current, underground convention center—an outdated structure with numerous pillars and interference issues for cell phones. The Terminal Tower site has the notable advantage of access to much of the city’s infrastructure: a direct train to Hopkins International Airport, and enclosed access to Progressive Field, Quicken Loans Arena, and other venues in the Gateway District. The committee’s study suggested a Terminal Tower-sited convention center could be done for perhaps $40 million less than a mall-sited center while providing visitors with more convenient 30 MeetingNews November 10, 2008 access to hotels and civic amenities. The mall site, though, would entail fewer land acquisition costs and greater future expansion potential than the more constrained Terminal Tower site. The county has taken the unprecedented step of tapping a private partner in Merchandise Mart Properties Inc., the Chicago-based property and trade show management firm, which will be integral in any new convention center. It is helping assess both proposed convention center sites and handling negotiations for land and contracting. MMPI’s concept is called Medical Mart, similar to the Merchandise Mart it has for furniture and home suppliers in Chicago. Medical Mart would attract 50 small and midsize medical conventions annually. “[MMPI and Cuyahoga County are] one organization in many respects,” MMPI senior VP Mark Falanga said.“We’ve got a common objective, and they’ll be actively involved in any negotiations we’re having.” Falanga said both proposed sites remain viable, and indicated his team will be looking for ways to trim the project’s estimated $500-million to $600million cost—which continues to rise as the buildout is extended—in order to stay in line with projected revenues from a sales tax increase. Bus Links Downtown with Univ. Circle Medical Hub The Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Author- kicked in a combined $6.25 million for its namity’s “HealthLine”—so called for its sponsorship ing rights. The HealthLine is credited with helpby and service to the city’s two leading medical ing spur $4.3 billion in developments along the facilities, the Cleveland Clinic and University Euclid corridor, according to the Cleveland Plain Dealer’s estimates. H Hospitals—has come on. —Section written by Brad Crawford The line runs along Euclid Avenue from Public Square, one of the potential Station stops on the HealthLine will be on the center median. sites for the new convention center, to East Cleveland, seven miles away. On the way, it connects downtown with University Circle, the medical hub and home to Case Western Reserve University. Sleek, diesel-electric buses make the trip from downtown to University Circle in 20 minutes. The route is arguably the most important in the RTA system— visible enough that the Cleveland Clinic and University Hospitals www.meetingnews.com http://www.meetingnews.com

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Meeting News - November 10, 2008

Meeting News - November 10, 2008
MN Exclusive Research
Green & Social Responsibility: The Year that Was in Meetings
Incentive Special: Recovering from AIG
Perspectives
What's Up @ MeetingNews.com
Letters to the Editor
Inside the Meetings Industry
South Africa Supplement
Newsmaker Q&A
People Making News
Hotels & Resorts
Starwood Hopes E-Portal is Small Meeting Utopia
Intercontinental O'Hare Puts Art at Forefront
Convention Centers
Dallas and Philadelphia Move on Their Projects
CVBs
Jacksonville Markets to Medical, Cultural Groups
International
Jamaica's Rose Hall Area Blossoms with Resorts
EIBTM Puts Together an Ambitious Program
Transportation & Services
Meeting News South
Technology
Green Beat
Destination Insider
Fort Lauderdale
Cleveland
Incentive Report
Mexico
MN Webcast Report
Ad Index
Live from the Forum

Meeting News - November 10, 2008

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