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Cuyahoga commissioners OK convention center-medical mart deal

CLEVELAND, March 20, 2008 (AP): A new convention center in Cleveland will be run by Chicago-based Merchandise Mart Properties Inc. for at least 20 years.

Cuyahoga County’s commissioners Thursday voted to approve a memorandum of understanding that sets terms of the deal, which includes development of a convention center and also a medical mart dedicated medical products and trade shows.

MMPI will get the revenue, but will also be responsible for capital improvements. It has committed $20 million toward the project.

The county, which favors a downtown Cleveland location for the project, plans to sell naming rights and will keep those proceeds.

Commissioners passed a countywide quarter percent sales tax increase that went into effect in October to pay for $400 million in project costs.

The county will pay at least $103 million over 20 years to MMPI to run the facility and bring in users.

The present Cleveland Convention Center is owned by the city. Renovating the existing center is a possibility.

MMPI produces more than 300 trade and consumer shows, conventions, conferences, educational programs and other special events annually.

On the Net: Cuyahoga County commissioners: http://bocc.cuyahogacounty.us/
MMPI: http://www.merchandisemart.com/mmart/about/mmpi.cfm






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