Cleveland Medical Mart and Convention Center progress shown to local press

Center to open next summer

CLEVELAND - The construction site of Cleveland's new $465 million Medical Mart and Convention Center was opened up to the media to see the progress being made in the facility. John DeWine of Turner Construction and Dave Johnson of MMPI led the two hour tour.

Much of the work in the Medical Mart building consisted of wall framing, heating and cooling duct work and installing insulation. While the Medical Mart building is the most visible part of the project because it is above ground, it is only one quarter of the project as a whole. Below the street level, workers were busy in the cavernous areas that will become exhibit halls and ballrooms for future conventions and gatherings.

Different construction methods are being used on the new center that have allowed for much more usable space than the old convention center. Iron tree-columns, that look like an inverted camera tripod, will allow more room on the floor of the facility. The new columns will be 90 feet apart instead of the 12 to 30 foot spacing that was used previously.

But changes in how workers are doing their jobs has kept the project on target as much as improved construction techniques.

Turner is using electronic tablets to speed up communications between workers on the job and designers and engineers off site. DeWine said before, workers would have to "write up a request for information to the designer and send it in. Maybe two weeks later you get an answer. We can do that in 15 minutes."

Johnson said now that event planners have a facility to look at, they are enthusiastic in bringing their events to Cleveland.

"Meeting planners have really turned that corner in terms of recognizing not only all the great attributes we have in Cleveland and Northeast Ohio but now seeing that this facility is a reality and is going to open in July of 2013."

The Cleveland Medical Mart & Convention Center (Cleveland MMCC) is Cleveland's downtown facility targeted specifically to the medical and health care industries.

The new structure will consist of permanent showrooms designed to showcase new medical equipment, a Class-A exhibition hall and state-of-the-art conference facilities.

The 235,000 square foot Medical Mart will house permanent showrooms focused on health care information technology, medical devices and device design & development.

Cleveland MMCC will be designed with approximately 230,000 square feet of high-quality exhibit space and will be suited to the needs of medical trade shows and conventions.

The Medical Mart is scheduled to open next summer and has already been busy booking events. Among some of the more recent events that have been booked for the new facility in Cleveland are:

* The Ohio Optometric Association's annual EastWest Eye Conference will move to the Cleveland Convention Center in 2013, 2014 and 2015. The optometrists' meeting will attract 1,500 attendees and 100 exhibitors, who are expected to book 1,125 room nights in downtown hotels, according to MMPI Inc., the developer and manager of the new trade show complex. The conference dates are Oct. 3-5, 2013; Oct. 9-11, 2014; and Oct. 1-4, 2015.

* The 2014 CleanMed Conference & Exposition will be held in downtown Cleveland May 12-16, 2014. The conference on environmental sustainability in the health care field is expected to attract 1,000 hospital administrators, physicians and other hospital staff and 100 exhibitors.

* Merchandise Mart Properties, Inc. (MMPI) has also announced a three-year agreement to host the Ohio Music Education Association Professional Development Conference at Cleveland Medical Mart & Convention Center in 2015, 2017, and 2019. The OMEA is the third largest of the 52 federated state affiliates of the National Association for Music Education. OMEA hosted 2,900 registered music educators and a total attendance of more than 9,000 at its 2012 annual conference, ranking it as one of the nation's largest state conferences. The OMEA Professional Development Conference will be held in Cleveland Feb. 5-7, 2015, Feb. 1-4, 2017, and Jan. 31-Feb. 2, 2019.

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