In the latest episode in the years-long effort to build a $425 million medical mart in Cleveland, the firm that plans to build the center has proposed a new downtown location, a move that “stunned” local politicians, according to reports.
Chicago-based developer Merchandise Mart Properties Inc., which also owns Chicago’s Merchandise Mart, last week said its most recent plans call for a glass building to be erected in a prominent downtown location between City Hall and the Cuyahoga County Courthouse.
Original plans were to incorporate a historic public hall and the underground convention center into the new complex.
The mart is being financed with a quarter-cent increase in the county sales tax that took effect two years ago and has since been the object of criticism as the project has hit obstacles.
The change means that county officials must negotiate a new land deal with Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson, according to reports. The City Council must also sign off on the new location.
The medical mart would feature a convention center with a permanent showroom for medical products. If built, the mart is supposed to open in 2013 — putting it behind a group planning to open a medical mart in Nashville, Tenn., that has a late 2012 opening.