Cleveland Medical Mart reaches crucial point in construction process with 'topping out' ceremony

Convention Ctr & Med Mart opens in September 2013

CLEVELAND - It took 2,000 construction workers in all types of Cleveland weather 18 months to reach a special point in building the new Convention Center and Medical Mart project.

Friday, the upper-most steal beam was placed on top of the Med Mart in a "topping out" ceremony.

Construction workers signed the last steal beam, which was painted white. Minutes later, the beam was hoisted by a crane operator to the top of the Medical Mart, along with a fir tree.

It's a tradition that signals growth and that the project reached its highest point safely.

The project is now more than halfway finished. The taxpayer-funded project cost $465 million.

The new Convention Center and Med Mart is expected to create thousands of new jobs directly and indirectly with spin off businesses and within the hospitality industry.

"This is a pivotal time for Cleveland," said Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson to a crowd of construction workers.

The plan is for medical device and medical supply companies from around the country and the world to showcase their innovations in Cleveland.

"When I go outside the city, this is a project people are talking about across the state and country and it's starting to re-brand this whole area as a medical capital for the whole country," said County Executive Ed Fitzgerald.

The idea for the Medical Mart in Cleveland came from Cleveland Clinic CEO, Dr. Toby Cosgrove.

"We think we are going to have people come from all over the world because we're attracting the very best in the health care industry from IT and medical equipment," said Dr. Cosgrove.

The new convention center, built underground, will allow for more than seven acres of green space.

There will be parks with trees, grass and elevated views of Lake Erie.

"We see this as an urban park and a special place that fits with the facility and all kinds of exciting plans for what goes on in Mall C to make it a community asset," said Jim Bennett, executive director for the Med Mart.

The major question now is will major medical device and supply companies display their merchandise in Cleveland's new Med Mart.

Med Mart officials said they expect to announce good news about just that later this summer.

Meanwhile, the new convention center is expected to draw up to three hundred thousand people a year to Cleveland.

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