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Cleveland: Global Center for Health Innovation & Convention Center

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I can get letters of intent and even signed leases for a proposed building. But getting financing is a whole 'nother issue, especially lately.

 

Don't take anything the PD writes about this topic at face value. They had a horse in this race and it lost. Now comes the sour grapes reporting, which will continue until they get a new publisher or the readers force them to change their approach to coverage.


"Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you respond." -- Coach Lou Holtz

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Excellent analysis KJP.  I had hoped for more from them but sour grapes is what we're getting.  Each side would like people to think the race is already over in their favor, just like during the site selection here. 

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Cuyahoga County official says talks for one medical mart parcel have stalled

 

CLEVELAND — Talks with one owner of downtown land selected for a medical mart project have stalled, causing Cuyahoga County officials to explore alternatives, a county official announced this morning.

 

 

http://blog.cleveland.com/metro/2009/07/cuyahoga_county_official_says.html

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Predictable.  L&R probably figures that they can keep the revenue flowing with the parking garage (which is always filled with people going to the Justice Center) and just hold off for a big payday when/if the project takes off and the demand for a convention-sized/connected hotel emerges.

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I suspect they are going to have a bunch of code inspections soon.

 

fiddle.gif


"Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you respond." -- Coach Lou Holtz

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Can't they "re-zone" that parcel to something other than as a parking lot?  What the city really needs to do is to create an unimproved property tax in the central business district to reduce the value of parking lots (yes, I realize that this particular parcel is a structured deck).  It's sad that the story of Cleveland always involves the self-interest of a few over what's best for the city. 

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Can't they "re-zone" that parcel to something other than as a parking lot?  What the city really needs to do is to create an unimproved property tax in the central business district to reduce the value of parking lots (yes, I realize that this particular parcel is a structured deck).  It's sad that the story of Cleveland always involves the self-interest of a few over what's best for the city. 

........and parking has been discussed to death. If this is going to become a debate or long winded issue, can the subject of parking be discussed in any number of other threads and not here? 

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I don't know if I see this as a bad thing... yet.  The county has said that they would not let a single property owner hold up this important project, while recently the county has been shopping for office space.  I believe the county is asking for 300,000+ sqft in 2011, leading to one of two things:  the construction of a new office building for the county (probably unlikely), or the county moving to an available office building with that much available space (sorry to get off topic). 

 

Either way it goes, I don't see the county letting this project go.  It fits too perfectly into the direction the region is headed, and we need it.

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I've heard the County is exploring moving their offices in a serious way, but the numbers are way up there for a long term lease. (FCE gets their bone?)

 

The PeeDee should hire me, I bring the news a month and a half before they figure out what's going on. :-D

 

 

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It's sad that the story of Cleveland always involves the self-interest of a few over what's best for the city.

 

When you witness the many failures/serious setbacks in large-scale development projects in this town, (witness the Breuer Building/County Admin. debacle reported on yesterday) this is indeed the core reason why.  It would be nice if more public officials and major developers in this town loved the city more than they loved scoring the big payday.

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where are these new renderings? can anyone track them down? you have me interested...

 

I wouldn't consider this new but this is what they're talking about.

 

gallery8.jpg

 

I'm a little concerned about the mall getting raised but they better get it right. Starting to really lose patience as well for that matter.

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Cool graphic. First time I've seen that one.

 

Now if you could just picture the North Coast Transportation Center being added on to that, starting from where the long bank of windows are and extending northward toward North Coast Harbor.......


"Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you respond." -- Coach Lou Holtz

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Now why would say that? It's not like I've ever done that before?!?! naughty.gif


"Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you respond." -- Coach Lou Holtz

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Now why would say that? It's not like I've ever done that before?!?! naughty.gif

 

You tease!  the "give away" was when you said, "you never saw that graphic before" when it's been posted here.

 

spillthebeans.jpg

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grumble (jerk) grumble (throw us a rendering) grumble grumble (maybe a timeline) grumble (a freakin' description) grumble

 

 

Oh, excuse me I had something in my throat that I decided to type verbatim.  Anywho, wouldn't an intermodal hub that extends from the CC to the north coast harbor, connecting the shoreway, waterfront line, and Amtrak, and interurban be swell? 

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Cool graphic. First time I've seen that one.

 

Now if you could just picture the North Coast Transportation Center being added on to that, starting from where the long bank of windows are and extending northward toward North Coast Harbor.......

 

I can picture it.... but am I allowed to picture it with Mall D built into its roof?

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All your questions (except the timeline) and desires for renderings are posted at the North Coast Transportation Center thread in the transportation section:

http://www.urbanohio.com/forum2/index.php/topic,17673.0.html

 

The planning for the NCTC was started in 1998 and then stopped when it wasn't certain if there would be a new convention center, and if there was, where it would go. So there's a tip for ya...

 

As a city councilperson said to me recently (paraphrasing): "This is a good site for a convention center. But with the North Coast Transportation Center and its pedestrian linkages to North Coast Harbor, it's a great site."


"Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you respond." -- Coach Lou Holtz

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County missed chance to buy St. Clair Avenue property now wanted for medical mart

Posted by Rachel Dissell/Plain Dealer Reporter July 29, 2009 04:01AM

 

The county missed a chance to buy the property in 2004, a move that could cost taxpayers extra dollar for the medical mart project or force the county to relocate its administrative offices.

 

PD Extra: Names in corruption probe surface in St. Clair Avenue property dealings

Cuyahoga County officials considered buying the St. Clair Avenue property now standing in the way of the downtown medical mart, but they let it slip away five years ago.

 

And today, negotiations with the California company that snatched it up have stalled, creating a problem that has the potential to cost taxpayers millions.

 

More at cleveland.com http://blog.cleveland.com/metro/2009/07/cuyahoga_county_missed_chance.htmlCuyahoga

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"I guess with this [real estate] stuff it always ends up being about timing," Ross said.

 

Is there a thread where posters can list our lost opportunities?

 

Everything I know about real estate.

 

Location.

 

Location.

 

Location.

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The administration building is as ugly as hell anyways.  I really wouldn't mind them tearing of it down and relocating to other office space--I'd actually prefer it.

 

Again, this article seems more like "shock headlines" than anything.

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Had they bought that property, they would be constructing a county HQ there.  IIRC, at the time they wanted to reserve that area for CC related developments, like a new hotel. 

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This story is just playing off of the mess that county officials are in.  I don't see how this could be front-page newsworthy.  So the county didn't pick up the site... big deal.  I would much rather prefer that they tear down their current administration building and move to available office space in the CBD.  Once again, the 2011 timeline is interesting, as leases will be available in several buildings throughout the CBD during that year.

 

And how is the county not picking up this building costing taxpayers millions?  This story puts the county in a sort of damned if they do, damned if they don't type of situation. 

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Well my thoughts on the PDs coverage of the CC/MM and the county commissioners is well documented.  They have an axe to grind.

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How dare the county commissioners not use their psychic abilities to predict the best location based upon decisions and agreement that hadn't been made yet!!!  :roll:

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Exactly. The PD was all about putting the CC/MM at Tower City so Terry Egger could please his Forest City buddies. Now they are ragging on the county for not buying the property long before the site decision was made.

 

Sometimes I wonder what/if people are thinking at 1801 Superior.


"Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you respond." -- Coach Lou Holtz

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Note: This article isn't about Cleveland's convention center per se, but I thought it brought up some very interesting points about why convention centers should not at all be seen as economic saviors to a city. It's long, but a good read, and at the very least, it's thought-provoking, whether you agree with it or not.

 

 

<a href=http://americancity.org/magazine/article/unconventional-thinking/>Unconventional Thinking</a>

Why cities shouldn’t buy into the convention center economy

By Josh Stephens

 

Two generations ago, city economies relied on money from the products they manufactured. Faraway customers purchased Fords, Zeniths, Maytags and Levi’s, and their cash made its way to the factory foreman and his workers, who would then spread the wealth to the local butcher and baker. In the postindustrial visitor economy, however, the city itself becomes the product, and cities must contrive reasons for people to visit. Enter the convention center.

 

At any given moment, the average American convention center is buzzing with accountants, motivational speakers, comic book collectors and other hordes of professionals and enthusiasts — adding up to 12,000 events a year. As the demand for spaces in which to buy, sell, make deals and exchange information has boomed, formerly modest meeting halls have ballooned into spaces that could swallow a typical Wal-Mart whole. Since 1993 American cities have invested more than $23 billion in ever-larger boxes that now number more than 320, and since 2000 the country’s total convention space increased by 25 percent to nearly 90 million square feet, which collectively eclipses the commercial space in all but two of America’s largest central business districts. Chicago’s McCormick Place alone spans 2.6 million square feet, with contiguous spaces that could hold about as many superlatives as you care to fit. The story of a single convention center would be an unremarkable tale. There is no Guggenheim Bilbao, but no Pruitt-Igoe either.

 

The story of convention centers is that, for all cities do to distinguish themselves, the convention industry treats cities not as places but rather as spaces — fungible, interchangeable and characterless. Even though convention centers are marketed with Platonic conceptions of cities (palm trees, skyscrapers, longhorns, slot machines), the convention economy is one of placelessness. “Most of them have removed themselves from the community they’re in by virtue of becoming developments that are about drawing people into the city, not about being integrated in the city culture and fabric,” says Fred Kent, president of the Project for Public Spaces, which advocates for attractive, energized public spaces.

 

Even so, convention centers might seem tolerably innocuous — they don’t pollute (directly), they don’t bulldoze historic neighborhoods (usually), and they pay for themselves — except when they don’t.

 

Registration Fees

 

While the convention industry has forged ahead, Heywood Sanders, professor of political science at the University of Texas-San Antonio, has positioned himself as its leading opponent — making him more or less a convention of one. In his 2005 Brookings Institution paper “Space Available: The Realities of Convention Centers as Economic Development Strategy,” Sanders, who has testified before Congress and often giggles when he discusses the industry’s absurdities, described the breathtaking pace at which convention-center supply was outstripping demand.

 

Despite the steady increase in nationwide square footage, Sanders presents data indicating that attendance at many convention centers, including the mighty McCormick Place and New York’s Javits Center, declined markedly from 1996 to 2003. When demand declines in a typical capitalist system, weak companies go out of business and successful ones get leaner. Convention centers do not respond to market signals quite so rationally. With fixed footprints, they generally cannot downsize, and as wholly owned subsidiaries of urban America, they cannot outsource. Their chief solution, then, is to expand. A 420,000-square-foot expansion of Houston’s George R. Brown Center was projected to yield nearly 600,000 room-nights in 2005, but a 2006 audit found that it was generating roughly 220,000 annual room-nights. In 2003 Washington, D.C., completed an $850 million expansion; as of 2007 annual convention-related hotel bookings were roughly 25 percent below projections, and the convention center’s 2007 operating loss was estimated at $22 million. In cities from Los Angeles to Boston to Baltimore, the story is much the same. The current economic crisis is, of course, bound to make matters worse.

 

Nonetheless, according to industry publication Trade Show Week, 71 expansions or new projects, 81 percent of which involve public funding, were underway as of September 2008, in keeping with the 10-year average of 74 projects underway at any given moment. In his analysis of these figures, Trade Show Week’s Michael Hughes writes, “It is still a buyer’s market for convention center space, and the extra space under development will exacerbate this.” In other words, convention centers are offering lower rents and sweetheart deals in order to attract fewer tenants who rent less space.

 

This remarkable escalation in the number and size of facilities stems from genuine civic enthusiasm, opportunism and cities’ belief in their own exceptionalism. According to Sanders, officials hold fast to dreams of what a new building or exhibit hall can do without acknowledging that the very same ideas are brewing in the minds of civic boosters elsewhere. Those boosters almost invariably rely on the recommendations of consultants, upon whom Sanders levels much of the blame for the national oversupply. “You have a great many people with very particular interests in making these things happen: consultants, unions, developers,” says Sanders. “All of that suggests that what’s going on in the larger market doesn’t matter, because fundamentally there’s no one who will pay the price for a center not delivering what it’s supposed to.”

 

These consultants usually work for quasi-public convention and visitors bureaus. Part bureaucracy, part marketing firm and part real estate developer, these agencies operate with single-minded attitudes toward increasing attendance and, at regular intervals, commandeering public funds to expand and upgrade their spaces to attract major events and out-of-town visitors. Consultants often offer optimistic projections of attendance, accompanied by optimistic projections of spinoff expenditures, by way of hotel nights and meals consumed. And cities buy into it: “We are very familiar with the benefits of the industry, and we understand the rollover effect of meetings and conventions,” says Mike Carrier, president of the Oklahoma City Convention and Visitors Bureau, which is studying an expansion of its facility. “These don’t necessarily pay directly for the facilities, but the indirect benefits through increased sales taxes, the spending in local hotels, restaurants, entertainment, are very beneficial for the city.”

 

Ironically, though, the events that demand the most space and the highest rent — great exhibits such as boat and car shows — tend to attract locals with no need for hotels. Meanwhile, the cosmographers who attend a Galactic Center Workshop might stay the week at top dollar, but there are only 100 of them. In the world. And while more square footage allows convention centers to accommodate bigger events, there is no guarantee that they won’t sit idle for long stretches. Sanders notes that business is not growing among the country’s 200 largest events, and that expansion makes little sense in a market where the vast majority of events do not need hundreds of thousands of square feet. “There is very clear evidence of ongoing growth on the supply side,” says Sanders. “There is every indication even from folks within the industry that the market is seriously overbuilt. There are a lot more convention centers chasing a relatively fixed volume of events.”

 

Boosters, of course, are quick to point out that they rarely, if ever, expect rents to cover capital costs (or even operating costs), thereby undercutting Sanders’ fiscally conservative line of criticism. “They’ve never been intended to be profitable,” says Steven Hacker, president of the International Association of Exhibitions and Events. “They’ve been intended to attract audience and the audience has the economic clout, the impact to the local community by way of hotel rooms, restaurant meals, entertainment, expenses to support the business activity on the show floor, etc. The buildings are nothing more than a convenient stage upon which to build that economic model.”

 

Look Who’s Paying

 

Sanders has acquired such nicknames as “Dr. No” from industry advocates, who maintain that the building boom, along with its billions of dollars in public expenditures, is a sign of healthy competition. “There are times when we think that competition among cities is actually healthy,” says Edward Glaeser, professor of urban economics at Harvard University. “It’s a good thing when cities compete by having better schools and safer streets and even by reducing taxes. The question is whether they’re competing in a way that actually delivers value.”

 

But by the time convention centers can answer the “value” question, it’s often too late to change course — and it’s likely no one bothered to make the calculations. In the pantheon of public works and the litany of angry responses generated by NIMBYs, convention centers have hit on a formula that has allowed them to proliferate and expand almost without anyone noticing. Their downtown-edge locations and low profiles help them avoid the ire of neighbors, and their funding mechanisms — bonds or, more likely, hotel taxes — mean that local taxpayers do not directly bear capital costs. “Convention centers are not sexy. They’re below the radar,” says Dennis Judd, professor of political science at the University of Illinois at Chicago. “They have very well-organized interests working on their behalf, and then you have an unorganized, inchoate public who may knit their brows. That’s an unequal contest.”

 

Because they play nearly no role in a city’s indigenous culture, convention centers are ignored by would-be activists and watchdogs who might speak up if it were clear that funds that could have gone to, say, schools were going to a convention center instead. “Since nobody’s ox is being directly gored, it isn’t as if you feel your kids’ kindergarten class is going to have five more students in it because they’re building this convention center — even though it might,” says Susan Fainstein, professor of planning at Harvard and editor of Tourist City.

 

To repay the public largesse, convention centers almost always promise positive externalities and multipliers that could, in a fanciful world, justify hundreds of millions in public subsidies. But those externalities are vague, opaque and almost impossible to measure, especially ex ante. They are, therefore, almost impossible to oppose. Meanwhile, the hotels, real estate interests, downtown business groups and public officials who gain directly from convention business portray them as painless investments. “There’s a limited range of things that cities can do and a limited range of things that mayors can say, ‘Look what I did for the city,’” says Fainstein. “They like things that are visible … but I don’t think that any rational benefit-cost analysis can justify it in most places.”

 

Lack In The Box

 

While fiscal conservatives such as Sanders might legitimately debate, or disregard, the economic benefits of convention centers, their aesthetic offenses are, with scant exception, undeniable. Convention centers — which differ from warehouses only in their cloyingly futuristic entryways and clever skins to disguise the enormous sheds therein — sit most comfortably on large forlorn parcels, often surrounded by other large, forlorn parcels. Though sightseers may wing off in search of cobblestone streets or natural grandeur, the typical convention-goer arrives with modest needs and no expectations, which are likely to be met. Cities become mere destinations — a bland chain stretching from Jetway to hotel lobby to meeting hall to Chili’s — rather than genuine places. “If you sign up for a convention center and your company sends you there, that’s where you wind up,” says Los Angeles Times architecture critic Christopher Hawthorne. “You’re not making a decision to see a particular convention center.”

 

Only recently have a handful of convention centers gestured toward high design. Renowned architect Rafael Viñoly has singlehandedly cornered the market on highbrow convention centers with his 1.5 million-square-foot, waterfront David L. Lawrence Convention Center in Pittsburgh and 660,000-square-foot Boston Convention and Events Center, the latter of which looks impressively like the starship Enterprise in drydock, with a titanium prow stretching toward the harbor. Otherwise, starchitects have tended to bestow their gifts elsewhere. “It’s difficult to find an architect who is self-effacing enough to [design a convention center],” says the Congress for the New Urbanism co-founder Andres Duany, whose prescriptions for urban America typically do not come in million-square-foot doses. “For most architects, a building of that size is their bid for immortality. So they want to be as different and unique as possible, and it’s very difficult with an elephantine building to do that.”

 

Populous (formerly HOK Sport Venue Event), the firm famous for designing neo-traditional ballparks and arenas, has positioned itself to bring innovation and higher-minded design to the next generation of convention centers. “A lot of cities … just want something incrementally better than their next competitor,” says Populous senior principal Todd Voth.

 

“I think there’s an opportunity to redefine the whole convention center building per se, and people were just willing to take a little bit more risk.” Voth says that his group tries to embody core principles that include aesthetics, sustainability and connection to the urban fabric. The group’s flagship design opened recently in Phoenix, where an additional 870,000 square feet has tripled the facility’s size.

 

Then again, whatever sculptural elements or detailing an architect can bring, the greatest challenge facing convention centers is that, for the most part, they fail to relate to the urban fabric that surrounds them. Viñoly’s BCEC, for example, occupies a wide berth in a formerly industrial section of Boston. Utterly devoid of history or urban intrigue, it sits across a highway and a channel from quaint downtown streets where the shots of the Revolution once echoed. At their worst, convention centers equate to taxation without representation, because city residents are sacrificing funds that in some cases could be spent on other redevelopment strategies that enhance their street life. ” It would be surrounded by urban fabric, seamlessly,” says Duany. “It would not have blank walls. There would probably be shops. There would be liner buildings. As a convention center, it probably would not be particularly expressive.”

 

“Big-scale government programs for stadiums and convention centers don’t work,” says Richard Florida, author and proponent of the theory that cities gain vibrancy from the “creative class.” “Small investment into the arts provides public leaders with a viable alternative to the large capital investments and helps to foster the organic development of a creative scene that is unique to their community.”

 

Ultimately, convention centers are an example of the tail wagging the dog: If cities had pleasant, vibrant, appealing neighborhoods — of the sort that create their own economies and draw visitors — they wouldn’t need contrived assembly spaces in the first place. Most convention centers are removed from their communities by virtue of becoming developments that are about drawing people into the city, not about being integrated in the city culture and fabric. “In the end,” says Sanders, “what you’re getting is a box, however nicely done, that is competing in a marketplace crowded with other boxes.”

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Yep. I agree with that article's premise. But I also think our existing convention center was an obsolete space that needed upgrading. We certainly didn't need a totally new (ie: duplicate) convention center.


"Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you respond." -- Coach Lou Holtz

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Exactly why the Mall was the superior choice -

 

Convention centers — which differ from warehouses only in their cloyingly futuristic entryways and clever skins to disguise the enormous sheds therein — sit most comfortably on large forlorn parcels, often surrounded by other large, forlorn parcels. Though sightseers may wing off in search of cobblestone streets or natural grandeur, the typical convention-goer arrives with modest needs and no expectations, which are likely to be met. Cities become mere destinations — a bland chain stretching from Jetway to hotel lobby to meeting hall to Chili’s — rather than genuine places.

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Exactly why the Mall was the superior choiceConvention centers — which differ from warehouses only in their cloyingly futuristic entryways and clever skins to disguise the enormous sheds therein — sit most comfortably on large forlorn parcels, often surrounded by other large, forlorn parcels. Though sightseers may wing off in search of cobblestone streets or natural grandeur, the typical convention-goer arrives with modest needs and no expectations, which are likely to be met. Cities become mere destinations — a bland chain stretching from Jetway to hotel lobby to meeting hall to Chili’s — rather than genuine places.

 

Exactly. It's so true. Which is one of the major reasons I was so against it going to Tower City .. not that it can't still happen at the lakeside site, but the idea of visitors having easier access to a one-stop kinda thing just irks me.

 

A convention center, in any city, needs to be a small part of a much larger whole, not the means to an end. It's a useful tool to be used by a city, but it should never be the major draw or economic engine.

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Exactly why the Mall was the superior choice -

 

Convention centers — which differ from warehouses only in their cloyingly futuristic entryways and clever skins to disguise the enormous sheds therein — sit most comfortably on large forlorn parcels, often surrounded by other large, forlorn parcels. Though sightseers may wing off in search of cobblestone streets or natural grandeur, the typical convention-goer arrives with modest needs and no expectations, which are likely to be met. Cities become mere destinations — a bland chain stretching from Jetway to hotel lobby to meeting hall to Chili’s — rather than genuine places.

The unique thing about our center, is it's been multiple use (the inside as a center and outside as a place to relax [and formally the hanna fountains and gardens]) and underground.  It's unique hopefully the new center can be a catalyst for connection to other "destinations" within our downtown along with spur convention related business. 

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In 2008, the company acquired Forest City Enterprises' interest in Network Parking of Cleveland and signed a long-term deal with Forest City to provide parking nationally, with the exception of New York City, according to a company release.

 

As a provision of the deal, L&R gave Forest City "first-look" rights at L&R land holdings in 12 states, including Ohio.

 

I wonder if FCE has a little influence in persuading L&R to drive a hard bargain for 113 St. Clair just to stick it to the county for not picking the TC site.

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