Ohio Venture - OVA Review Newsletter
News from the Ohio Venture Association meeting on November 2, 2012

Keynote Address:

Dave Johnson
Public Relations
Cleveland Medical Mart and Convention Center

When the new nearly-half-billion-dollar Cleveland Medical Mart and Convention Center opens later this year, Cleveland will finally be back in the game as a desirable convention destination. That was the main message delivered to OVA members at their monthly meeting in November, as Dave Johnson, head of public relations for the project, delivered an overview presentation before leading a hardhat tour of the construction site.

He noted that excavation and demolition of the site took about eight months, and that more steel will be used in the building (upwards of 12,000 tons) than on any other building project ever in Cleveland, topping even the nearby Key Tower.

"It's a $465 million project, but what most people don't realize is that the Med Mart only represents one quarter of the space"—or about 235,000 sq. ft. of the 1.1 million total sq. ft. Cleveland Clinic and GE Healthcare have signed on as the two anchor tenants. "The two of them together represent more than 8% of the total rentable square footage in the mart. They're two large names to get us kicked off," he said.

Even more importantly, he said, "This puts us in the game as a convention city. Convention and meeting planners look for five things when they're going to book a convention." Cleveland had four of the five already in place: transportation, hotels (seven major new or refurbished hotels are now in the pipeline for the next 18 months), amenities and safety. "But the thing we didn't have is a facility. That was the most important thing. We had really gotten out of the game in terms of bringing meeting here, whether healthcare or non-healthcare."

He argued that the project will help highlight the city's legacy as a manufacturing center, but in areas with a promising future. "This is a city that's always been good at making things, manufacturing and making things—out of metal and steel and rubber and plastic. And as we gradually shifted from making car parts and things like that, many of these pieces and parts are now going into making medical products." After all, he noted, about one out of every three people in the region currently work in the healthcare industry—or just shy of 500,000 people.

"The strategy, very simply, is that by the end of 2015, this is going to be a place unlike anywhere else in the world. This place will be a fundamental source of change. It will be a place that aspires to showcase what's possible—in terms of healthcare innovation, healthcare commerce and healthcare education, and will enhance what we already have here in Northeast Ohio."

He said the project will also help with an entirely different part of the city's legacy—restoring the vision behind the original Group Plan that architect Daniel Burnham created for Cleveland more than a century ago. "One of the problems with the old mall is that it had really become a series of crisscrossing sidewalks, cement, and the fountain that was built in 1964 that really didn't work. And you didn't have good vistas of the lake without walking back and forth. We'll now have two promenades, one on the east side and one on the west side, where you'll have direct access to the lake."

Meanwhile, the center is in talks with the Cleveland Browns about possibly using some of its 1,600 parking spaces, which would probably be connected via shuttle buses.

In his introduction, OVA president Jim Weisman was enthusiastic about the project. "We have a building going up that is ahead of schedule, and under budget. That's a tremendous thing."

More information:

Webcast from the Meeting:

Click on the image below to view the entire presentation as video.

Video Webcast from Recent Meeting
Webcasts produced by Tom Kondilas.

A Look Back:

There was tremendous interest in a presentation by Procter & Gamble's Vice President of Global Business Development, Jeff Weedman, at the October Great Lakes Venture Fair. You can now review his presentation slides.

OVA's New Video Archive is Online:

OVA is pleased to have recently added an archive of program videos to its website. You'll find the full video record of most OVA formal programs since 2008 at www.ohioventure.org/video-archive.html.

Upcoming Meeting Dates:

  • January 18, 2013
    Bob Cohen
    CEO, Braintree Business Development Center
  • March 1, 2013
    Venture Capital Summit VIII
  • April 12, 2013
    Baiju Shah
    CEO, BioMotiv
  • June 14, 2013
    Venture of the Year

See complete details and registration for these events.

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Ciuni & Panichi

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