New Medical Mart deal: Groundbreaking by October

3:53 PM, Jan 7, 2010   |    comments
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Terms and timelines for the project are spelled out in a new construction agreement commissioners approved Thursday.

The projected price tag for the project remains at $425 million.

That money is coming from a 20-year, quarter-percent sales tax.

Attorney Jeff Appelbaum, who is now Cuyahoga County's chief negotiator and spokesperson for the project, said, "That should be enough to pay for the project's bricks and sticks."

Commissioners said it's too soon to discuss possible extension of the tax to deal with money issues.

The agreement says MMPI must pay for cost overruns.

The project is moving back to its original site with the Medical Mart going on the corner of St. Clair Avenue and Ontario Street.

Late last year, MMPI said it wanted to move the project to Mall C because of difficult negotiations with property owners and unexpected costs in rehabbing Public Hall.

The land negotiations are back on track. If all the parcels cannot be acquired through negotiation, land could be acquired through eminent domain and converted to a public park.

The project has goals of providing jobs for local workers and work for local companies.

The employment/job targets are 40 percent county residents and 20 percent Cleveland residents.

County Commissioner Peter Lawson Jones asked that the goals be raised to 50 percent county residents and 25 percent city residents.

Appelbaum will propose that change to MMPI.

Other significant points:

  • The county has rights to approve MMPI's choice of architects
  • MMPI cannot abandon the project once there is an agreed maximum price
  • MMPI must seek competitive bids from firms hoping to create and construct the project.

Negotiations are underway with Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson and the city to remake Public Auditorium. Appelbaum claimed it's likely the city will use part of the $20 million it receives for the old convention center to make needed repairs to that facility.

"Take that Nashville," said Commissioner Peter Lawson Jones, as he approved the agreement.

Nashville has announced that it's attempting to build similar project.

On Thursday, New York media reported that a planned similar project for New York City is being scaled back.

That project is still seeking a site and developers are in a race with Cleveland and Nashville to be the first medical products showcase to open.


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