Submitted by Roldo on Fri, 01/23/2009 - 12:25.

Turn left. No, turn right. No, turn diagonally. No go straight.

It’s always good to have crisp, credible directions. Otherwise, how do you know where you are going?

Cuyahoga County Commissioners yesterday gave new directions to where they want to take us. If only we had any idea that they had any real idea where they are taking us.

What they said yesterday doesn’t jibe at all with what the plan for the medical mart and the convention center was when the Greater Cleveland Partnership (GCP), at the Commissioners’ behest, said when announcing plans last August on the proper site for the project.

The site chosen in August was to be at Tower City on the Cuyahoga River for the convention center and at the Higbee building for the medical mart.

In August the site was $50 million cheaper; yesterday the higher-priced site became $108 cheaper. My, what you can do by just writing figures on a piece of paper.

In August, the water table made the weight of the mall site unworkable; the new story – the mall site affords a workable foundation to lower costs. You can change anything these days.
Other reasons for the August site selection that seem to have evaporated: The project can be done quicker utilizing the Higbee building, “accelerating the project while maintaining Cleveland’s leadership in this new endeavor;” it won’t interfere with the existing convention center; infrastructure costs “minimized;” it will revive Tower City retail; and first on its list, we have “Connectivity” – public transportation from Hopkins Airport to University Circle and indoor links to hotels, restaurants and entertainment venues (Gateway). “Cleveland’s climate makes connectivity even more important.”

Never mind!

The 98-page GCP-guided August report (and the $100,000 or so) with backup documentation apparently went down the drain as the Commissioners and MMPI (Merchandise Mart Properties Inc.), the Chicago outfit given the task of building and operating this new venture, met and hastily changed it all once again.

Sorry, Sam and Scott, we’re going in another direction.

We may, however, have more unseen problems than were admitted yesterday.

“This wasn’t a well-choreographed play,” said Nance. His words are already in contest for “Understatement of the Year”.

I understand that a question was asked about the use of eminent domain in taking the property at the corner of Ontario and St. Clair.
The answer, as I was told, was that eminent domain could not be used since the project will be under the control of MMPI, which isn’t a governmental bond but a private business.

This could have a great effect on cost and also time – two ingredients important to overall cost - as there will have to be private bargaining with the owners of a substantial part of the building of the medical mart, which would sit on this land.

It’s clear that the County Commissioners – Jimmy Dimora, Peter Lawson Jones and Tim Hagan – wanted to cut through the debacle they’ve helped create over this error-prone idea.

Scott Wolstein’s attempt to nudge himself into the deal with his desire to have the project built where his stalled Flats development is planned likely forced the Commissioners into a decision.

It’s difficult for anyone to have confidence in this hurried decision.

We can partially blame the Plain Dealer for its role in pushing so hard for a resolution of the entire medical mart/convention center issue.

They want the square into the round hole no matter what.

The paper may have pushed so hard, put so much pressure on public officials that we have a hastily developed plan than hasn’t been carefully evaluated and will lead to further problems.

Oh, well, when we have those terrible cost run-overs (I know MMPI is supposed to be responsible but I don’t believe it and there is no contract with MMPI) Tim can find some County money to gloss over the embarrassment.

Here we go again folks.

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What the...????

Did we really care about what happened to the "old" convention center/mall when big convention shows went to the IX center?  Here's a great view of Cleveland.. a big brown box next to a bunch of smelly runways and RR tracks.  Let's add an indoor, eternal ferris wheel... that will make it all better.

Now the old, abandoned-to-pyramid-scheme-marketing-scam mall infrastructure is a priority and destination? ? ?

I'd rather see incomers see the flats and the waterfront and branch out to the structures surrounding it... making Cleveland UNIQUE!

Oh, yeah, the... Mall... yippee...


This? THIS?  is what we've been waiting for???

I'd rather see Tower City the Medical Mart and then re-vamp the mall for convention overflow... yeah... O.V.E.R. Flow... let's sound it out boys... Convention/Business... OVERFLOW...  It's called "Bringing shit to Cleveland"

The mall, no matter how you try to revamp it, will never be a destination... it could, however, be a GREAT compliment.

 Just one more reason for me to reconsider another state for residency...


Nice Pic...  P. Effen D.

And as a business person who helped to coordinate world-wide conferences for 10k+ attendee events (which btw, can only be supported in five (FIVE) American cities (NOT CLEVELAND) which BTW all BORE conference goers worldwide.. HELLO... MARKET NICHE????)

I ask... now? why bother...  you're spending multi-millions to achieve less than average results...  Hello??? FBI??? Where is the hook to get these people off stage???  NOW??? Not later??? 

You can build it... but it does not mean they will come

(ref.  Rock Hall... where's the Cleveland Red Carpet?  Oh yeah, New York and California)


I'm near quitting.  The next time I see Jimmy Dimora beind a table of decision making and not in prison garb?...  I'm outta here...

And for the record... I'm

And for the record... I'm not endorsing... Wolsteins/Sam Miller/Ratner/Jacobs

or any big guy...

... I'm for the little guy...

... and in these discussions, I'm really not defending them (or me) either

I am (defending) promoting our unique resources... and I think our lakefront, river, and metroparks are unique... and should be levereged for the benefit or our entire region.

if we could all just get along. . .


rush to buy bonds

Young smart businessmen rush to buy bonds to fund MMPI's new medical mart in Cleveland, Ohio now that the "mall site has been picked". 

Why wait for a contract, invest now for the long term, right? Telephones are ringing, emails are flying!

These guys know the deal. Let's recap: "Squire, Sanders and Dempsey LLP Regional Managing Partner and power broker Nance took the podium first and told the crowd that this project represented the "future of the city of Cleveland and the future of Northeast Ohio." Nance, who is also chairman of the Greater Cleveland Partnership, went into detail of what the proposed Medical Mart and attached convention center would entail. He remarked that "the business community is 100 percent behind this project."" from the 2007 City Club Forum on the Medical Mart

So I would expect that every member of the Greater Cleveland Partnership is busy investing in the future of the medcon today. OK, maybe next week.

From the MOU: "The County will issue revenue bonds ("Bonds") and loan the proceeds from the sale of the Bonds to the Operator under a plan of finance that will be mutually agreeable to the Operator and the County and will permit the Operator to own and operate the Facility as contemplated in this Memorandum of Understanding. At the time of issuance of the Bonds, the County and MMPI will reasonably anticipate that the proceeds of the Bonds will be adequate to pay all costs of acquisition, construction, project management, design and equipping of the Project, including interest and other costs during design, construction and development. The financing agreements will obligate the Operator: (a) to make loan payments sufficient to pay the debt service on the Bonds, (b) to use the Bond proceeds to pay costs of designing, constructing, furnishing and equipping the Facility, and (c) to pay any of those Facility costs in excess of the proceeds of the Bonds loaned to the Operator.

Yep, just saw a little old lady pushing a wheelbarrow of cash down the street en route to buy these bonds... finally chomping down on the silver bullet, grinning from ear to ear - bailed out finally! Stumbling in a stupor of relief. Oh... maybe I was dreaming.

Now, seriously, can someone explain this bond thing to me? A friend says, "yeah, yeah - they won't get the bonding... it'll never happen". Maybe I'll go throw the i-ching...

Shovel ready?

  BFD is down and there was a thread there on the economic stimulus package for cities.  Henry Gomez posted the City of Cleveland's "shovel-ready" projects in the queue.  Now, I have written enough grants to recognize BS.  The real tip-off that should clue the reader to an amazing piece of BS is the job figures listed--74,085 (those last 85 jobs were thrown in to make it look less of a guesstimate;)

The projects listed by the City of Cleveland are no where near "shovel-ready."  Does a letter from Mayor Jackson negate reality?

CCF- restrictions on travel - the vital signs for hospitals

In this press release from Cleveland Clinic (reprinted with frills by the PD in which it likened CCF to the White House and a casino)"The Cleveland Clinic imposed a hiring and salary freeze across its 33,000-worker health system in December. The freeze does not apply to employees needed for direct patient care. The move was made to try to avoid layoffs and preserve other jobs, the hospital said. The hospital also initiated restrictions on travel and the use of consultants and contractors."

Jeez - that's tough. I guess it's good though that we'll have the medical mart here, so that CCF purchasing officers can ride the healthline to the  conventions affiliated with shopping for hospital goods. But it begs the question: When the mighty Cleveland Clinic has initaited travel restrictions, won't other hospitals also cut back on sending their purchasers to conventions? Maybe not.

This article from Forbes is interesting on the topic of the downturn in conference activity: Downturn hits U.S. corporate meetings

"By organizing fewer big meetings in distant cities, companies can save millions on airline seats, conference hall bookings, hotel rooms and a range of smaller items."

"A total of 64 percent of companies globally will reduce spending on meetings next year, a figure that has doubled since August, according to research by Meeting Professionals International, the world's largest organization for meeting executives."

So we will build this convention center on a wing and a prayer - oh yes, and with an unvoted 1/4 cent sales tax increase. It kinda makes you wonder about "numbers on paper" that Roldo mentions above. Makes me wonder whose numbers they are reviewing and why the PD is not reporting "Medmart moves ahead despite healthcare industry's belt tightening" - you know, both sides of the story.

This study in New York State is instructive and paints a more grim picture for the healthcare industry than anything were reading from the Cleveland Clinic in our PD Medical and Science News repeater: "Vital Signs Fading" Shows a Hospital System on Course for Collapse - 01/06/2009 The report, based on the health care system of the State of New York sounds a loud alarm for the medical industry. It's one we're not hearing in Cleveland where hospitals are our largest employers, but the poverty that surrounds our hospitals silently eats away that their continued economic viability.

After you read the vital signs for the medical industry, ask yourself, is it really a good time to build a party center for hospital purchasing folk?