County Commissioners and MMPI Reach Agreement

March 13, 2008

Cleveland, OH–Cuyahoga County Commissioners announced this morning that a deal has been reached with Merchandise Mart Properties, Inc. The agreement will bring a Medical Mart showroom and a new convention center to Cleveland.

Details of the agreement have not yet been released. Stay tuned for further information.

Samantha Fryberger


Audio of Medical Mart press conference

December 7, 2007

Listen to yesterday’s press conference here.

“We are committed to Cleveland”

December 6, 2007


The slides from today’s press conference are available here: press-conference-12607.ppt

A Medical Mart Update

December 6, 2007

Press release  from this morning’s press conference (photos, slides and audio to come).

What about the CFA?

October 5, 2007

Today’s Plain Dealer reported the end of the Conventional Facilties Authority (CFA).  The group was tasked with the convention center project hasn’t met for some, but their work will be useful to the Medical Mart and convention center decisions that need to made in the coming months.  All of the work (documents, studies, etc.) produced by the CFA have been in our possession for some time.  In particular, the information is helping us with the site recommendation.  Of course, some additional study is also required because the CFA never considered the possiblity of the complementary facility like the Medical Mart co-existing with the convention center.

Cuyahoga County seeks attorney Fred Nance to lure Medical Mart

By Joe Guillen and Sarah Hollander

Plain Dealer ReportersHigh-powered attorney Fred Nance, who had been tapped by a business group to help bring a new convention center and Medical Mart to Cleveland, could also be working for taxpayers.

Cuyahoga County is in negotiations to hire Nance and his firm, Squire Sanders & Dempsey, in its effort to open the facilities with a significant private investment, officials said.

Nance’s fee — higher than the $200 hourly rate the county typically gives outside legal counsel — would be paid using money that was set aside for the Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Convention Facilities Authority, a defunct group the county commissioners officially dissolved at their meeting Thursday.

The authority, created in 2004 to establish a new convention center, was mothballed last year as Medical Mart plans solidified.

Its reduced operations created a piggybank of about $175,000 in taxes paid by hotel guests — money that’s in play for the county’s negotiations to hire Nance, regional managing partner of Squire Sanders & Dempsey.

The county previously hired former Commissioner and Ohio Attorney General Jim Petro to help land a Medical Mart and new convention center. He was to be paid $200 an hour, up to $125,000. He collected about $35,000 before stepping down, County Administrator Dennis Madden said.

Nance would represent the county in talks with developers and Merchandise Mart Properties Inc., the Chicago-based company that would run the mart here, Madden said.

“The advantages of Fred Nance are obvious for anybody that’s been around the town,” Commissioner Tim Hagan said.

Nance is credited with helping to bring the Browns back to town and keeping the federal Defense Finance and Accounting Service and its 1,100 jobs in Cleveland.

He’s been pushing the Medical Mart plan since July, before the county commissioners raised the sales tax one-quarter of a penny to build a convention center to go with the Medical Mart.

In August, he began leading a site selection committee on a volunteer basis for the Greater Cleveland Partnership, the region’s largest chamber of commerce. Nance is chairman of the Partnership.

The committee plans to recommend a site to the commissioners by year’s end.

County officials’ decision to kill the CFA hasn’t drawn criticism from former members.

“I’m not offended,” former member Patrick Sweeney said. “I’m glad.”

County commissioners have left open the possibility of re-establishing the group to operate a new convention center.

Amanda Marko
Greater Cleveland Partnership

Joe Roman on the site selection process

September 27, 2007

In in recent note to GCP members, Joe Roman, president and CEO of the Greater Cleveland Partnership said: 

“Given the Cuyahoga County Commissioners’ preference for a downtown location and the amount of land needed to accommodate a 300,000-square foot exhibition space plus showrooms and back-office functions, only a few sites currently seem to meet these criteria, although other ‘wild-card’ locations may emerge as possibilities. The Site Selection Advisory Group, headed by GCP Chairman Fred Nance, expects to make a recommendation to the county—which will make the final decision—either late this year or early in 2008. It’s important to note that we don’t consider the Medical Mart to be a single project that can ensure our region’s economic future. But it does promise to positively influence several key areas: helping to revitalize downtown Cleveland—critical to the Northeast Ohio economy; creating jobs for individuals with varying levels of skill and education (hospitality, healthcare, construction and high-tech); providing linkages that create opportunities for our existing manufacturing companies; and taking steps to position Cleveland as the healthcare capital of the United States.”

 Amanda Marko
Greater Cleveland Partnership

Advisory groups and the timeline

August 30, 2007

The Cleveland Plus Visitor Center (The Higbee Building, 100 Public Square) was the site for the announcement of the action plan for moving ahead the Medical Mart project.

The presentation (slide1.jpg) included a desciption of the advisory groups that are being formed (slide2.jpg) and the timeline that will be followed (slide3.jpg).  The site selection group, chaired by Fred Nance, will include the chairs of the other advisory groups and some mebers of the Greater Cleveland Partnership executive committee and the COSE executive committee. The work of the site selection advisory group will get underway first.  The other advisory groups will start forming now and will become more active as the site selection advisory group wraps up its work.

Amanda Marko

Greater Cleveland Partnership

Medical Mart action plan announcement photos

August 30, 2007



Amanda Marko
Greater Cleveland Partnership

Medical Mart leaders form advisory groups and announce a timeline for moving the project ahead

August 30, 2007

Community input and maximizing the opportunity are two driving principles  

Cleveland – August 30, 2007 – Fred Nance, chairman of the Greater Cleveland Partnership, and Joe Roman, the organization’s CEO and president, today named chairs for four advisory groups that will assist them in efforts to bring the Medical Mart to Cleveland. 

Nance and Roman also announced self-imposed deadlines for the project, which involves the development of the Medical Mart and the construction of a related convention center and trade show facility. 

Today’s announcement follows the recent failure of an effort to force a referendum of the quarter percent increase in the county sales tax imposed by the Cuyahoga County Commissioners to finance the project.   The ballot issue would have delayed and possibly prevented the Medical Mart – a one-of-a-kind showroom to display and sell state-of-the-art medical equipment and devices – and convention center from being constructed. 

But, said Nance, there is a lot more hard work to be done to make this project a reality. 

Between now and the end of the year a site selection group, chaired by Nance, will examine a variety of proposed sites to make a recommendation to the County Commissioners for the best location to build the project.  In that same timeframe, work will proceed to assemble the basic structure for the management of the project. 

“Now that our financing has been secured, it is time to get on with the spadework to make this important project a reality,” said Nance.  “And we’re going to do it in a way that assures meaningful community input.” 

Roman said that while the advisory groups are vital to helping shape the project, those committees won’t swing into full operation until a site is picked for the Medical Mart.  He and Nance announced four advisory groups and their chairs. The members of the advisory groups will be determined in the coming weeks and months. 

·            Industry Advisory Group, to be chaired by Les Vinney, president and CEO of Steris Corp.  This group will include representatives of Cleveland medical, health-care and related industries.  They will make recommendations as to type and quality of medical device and equipment manufacturers that should be included in the Medical Mart to attract medical tradeshows and conventions to Cleveland.  They will also identify the conference center and tradeshow facility amenities that would help attract a wider audience of conventions to Cleveland.

 ·            Education and Workforce Development Advisory Group, to be chaired by Helen Williams, program director at the Cleveland Foundation. Williams, has long been involved in all areas of education and has held leadership positions with the Cleveland Initiative for Education and the Summit on Education.  This group will work with northeast Ohio groups such as educational institutions – public school systems, colleges and universities, etc. – foundations, workforce organizations and others.  Their goal will be to identify education and career opportunities for our young residents, as well as to identify ways to facilitate job creation in the health care and medical industries in northeast Ohio.  These industries have created tens of thousands of jobs in northeast Ohio in recent years and the Medical Mart will only further stimulate such positive economic activity,” Nance said.  “By orienting our student and facilitating job training in the medical industry, we can take another material step to stem the region’s brain drain and connect our residents to the jobs of tomorrow.” 

·            Community Development & Inclusion Advisory Group, to be chaired by Andrew Jackson, senior vice president at the Greater Cleveland Partnership and executive director of the Commission on Economic Inclusion.  This group is charged with working with local community development groups and minority business development entities to help ensure that the broader community shares in the benefits of this potentially transformational project.   

·            Site Selection Group, chaired by Nance, will ultimately recommend a location for the Medical Mart and the new convention center/trade show facility to the County Commissioners.  Members of the group will include the chairs of the other three advisory groups, as well as some members of the Greater Cleveland Partnership executive committee and the Council of Smaller Enterprises (COSE) executive committee.

The Greater Cleveland Partnership, the primary voice for businesses in Greater Cleveland, seeks to create jobs and improve the economic vitality of the region. Its priorities include technology, innovation and high-growth businesses; connected physical development; education and workforce development; and business attraction, retention and expansion. The GCP emphasizes service to its more than 17,000 members; advocacy on behalf of members and the region; diversity and inclusion; and internationalization of the region and its businesses.     

The Way Ahead

August 29, 2007

Tomorrow at 11 a.m. at the Cleveland Plus Visitor Center (100 Public Square, Cleveland), Fred Nance and others will update the media on next steps for the Medical Mart/Convention Center.  We’ll post details after the event.