Cleveland Convention Center, Med Mart initially met with skeptics, doubts

Completed ahead of schedule

CLEVELAND - Cleveland's new Convention Center and Med Mart was six years in the making and often was met with doubts and criticism.

The $465 million project was approved in 2007 by a two to one vote by former Cuyahoga County Commissioners.

Instantly, opposition arose.

Taxpayers were furious that a .25 percent increase in the sales tax would take place without voter approval and immediately launched an effort to put the tax increase on the ballot for a vote.

It failed to get enough signatures and the sales tax hike went into effect.

Then, a local chapter of Cleveland architects voiced its disapproval of the planned site.

While the cost to build increased another $40 million, both Nashville and New York City announced plans to beat Cleveland to the punch.

Finally, many questioned whether the new project would even sign enough tenants and attract enough conventions to be successful.

But in the end, the project was completed three months ahead of scheduled with $90 million left over that will be used for seed money to fund a new convention center hotel next door.

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