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Downtown Cleveland offers new meeting spaces for visitors


Adding to the convenience of downtown Cleveland is the July opening of the Cleveland Convention Center and Global Center for Health Innovation, completed as part of the city’s $2 billion new visitor-related infrastructure undertaking.

Northeast Ohio is welcoming tourism-related infrastructure developments until 2015, and more than half of the $2 billion is going toward downtown Cleveland. Already completed this past June as part of the Flats Redevelopment Project is the Aloft Hotel, which includes 150 rooms and 3,000 square feet of meeting space. Other infrastructure projects on the horizon include the $64 million renovation of the Westin Cleveland Downtown, set to open spring 2014, and the $30 million transformation of the International Exposition Center (I-X Center).


Celebrating the Cleveland Convention Center

The interconnected Cleveland Convention Center and Global Center for Health Innovation provide new offerings for visitors on a 1 million square-foot campus. While the opening for the Global Center is planned for October, Turner Construction Company finished the convention center ahead of schedule in June and under the $465 million budget. Both facilities were a public investment by the people of Cuyahoga County. Turner built the convention center under the Cleveland Mall, a long public park in Cleveland’s downtown.

Beginning July 19, the Cleveland Convention Center will host its first event, the 2013 National Senior Summer Games, which is dedicated to promoting healthy and active lifestyles for athletes age 50 and over. The young venue has already attracted the 2015 Iron and Steel Technology Conference and Exposition, which hasn’t been hosted in Cleveland since 2006.

“The new Cleveland Convention Center, with its state-of-the-art capabilities and easy access to downtown Cleveland attractions and local manufacturers, offers all of the amenities for the Association for Iron and Steel Technology to return to Cleveland,” said Tony Prusak, senior director of sales, Cleveland Convention Center.

This technologically advanced venue provides capabilities to conduct virtual meetings and events, and it is controlled by iPad technology. Comprising 90,000 square feet, 35 meeting rooms are equipped with technology to support high-speed Internet, video and audio services, and they are designed to provide acoustic protection and prevent audio bleed.

Also inside the L-shaped convention center is 230,000 square feet of exhibit space that can hold 1,000 booths on the show floor. A 17-truck dock bay comes complete with weather protection and allows exhibitors to move in and out. Loading and unloading can be done by truck directly on the exhibit hall floor. Outside the venue, 10 acres of land is dedicated to event space.


U.S. Senator Sherrod Campbell Brown at celebration

Overlooking Lake Erie is the acoustically sound, 32,000-square-foot Grand Ballroom, which boasts a wavy ceiling treatment that resembles the curvy movement of the lake. The treatment was designed off-site via computer technology and then assembled at the venue.

The manager of the two interconnected buildings, Merchandise Mart Properties, Inc. (MMPI), gave a sneak peek inside the Cleveland Convention Center and Global Center during a ribbon cutting ceremony June 14 and a community open house June 15 that attracted nearly 4,000 people.

Complementing Cleveland and Northeast Ohio’s strength as a health care hub and a funding model is the Global Center for Health Innovation, which will open along with the Cleveland Clinic Medical Innovation Summit, a gathering to discuss the future of medicine. Global Center was previously known as Cleveland Medical Mart.

Conceived in 2005, before competing projects in Nashville and New York were announced, Global Center was built to bring together medical innovation, education and commerce. Construction required more than 12,200 tons of steel, the largest ever for a building project in Cleveland. Health care leaders will reside within the four-story, 235,000-square-foot building to illustrate possibilities, technologies and products that are shaping health care delivery.

Health care IT is the theme of the 25,000 square feet sprawling the fourth floor where Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS), an organization focused on better health through information technology (IT), will be located. Set to become a testing, demonstration and educational facility, the HIMSS Innovation Center and Health IT Ecosystem will include 12,500 square feet of exhibition space and allow health care companies to test and demonstrate a specific product’s interoperability.

“We look forward to the opening of the HIMSS Innovation Center. As we continue our support of achieving seamless, secure exchange of electronic health information, our focus at HIMSS continues on interoperability, standards and harmonization initiatives in Cleveland and across the globe,” said H. Stephen Lieber, CAE, president and CEO, HIMSS.

Originally, HIMSS planned to reside in the Nashville Medical Trade Center, but when the project failed, HIMSS focused on Cleveland.

GE Healthcare, a provider of transformational medical technologies and services, will highlight breast cancer, Alzheimer’s and heart disease using an interactive disease pathway display that shows how GE technology connects screening, diagnosis, pathology, treatment and monitoring procedures to enable better outcomes for patients.

Johnson Controls, which helps health care organizations deliver an optimized patient environment, will use its tenancy to show how integrated technologies affect the patient care experience and reduce operational energy costs.

Philips Healthcare and University Hospitals are two global organizations that united to showcase innovative imaging technology. The Cleveland Clinic, a multispecialty academic medical center, is planning an exhibit to illustrate delivery practices of the future.

Outside of the health care realm, MMPI has planned or already implemented sustainable measures, including the usage of low- and no-VOC paint materials, cleaning products and building materials.

Surrounding the campus where the interconnected buildings lie are plant life and soil materials that efficiently filter storm water along with water-efficient landscaping. A plan for drought-tolerant plants to reduce water consumption is also in the works.

The Cleveland Convention Center is a LEED Silver facility, and the neighboring Global Center is on track to be certified with this rating too. Designed to be environmentally friendly, the convention center features a green roof, and a white reflective roof on the above-ground Global Center will reduce heat gain and lessen energy usage. Alternative transportation is encouraged by the creation of 275 bike racks, nearby public transportation, including free trolley rides, and the elimination of parking spaces. The two buildings will also utilize efficient cooling and heating.

By the time Global Center is complete, it will feature extensive natural lighting, reducing the need for artificial lighting. Natural lighting is taken advantage of too in the convention center, particularly due to the windows facing the Lakeside Avenue entrance and the Lake Erie overlook from the Grand Ballroom.

Pictured on July 2013 cover (From left to right): Lisa Marie Ludwick, director of sales, Aloft Cleveland Downtown; Jim Bennett, senior vice president, MMPI; Alan Feuerman, director of sales and marketing, Westin Cleveland Downtown; Brad Gentille, president and COO, International Exposition Center (I-X Center); Adam Fishman, principal, Fairmount Properties LLC (Developer of the Flats East Bank); and David Gilbert, president and CEO, Positively Cleveland.

Photo credit: ©Positively_Cleveland

Some information obtained from an interview with Dave Johnson, director of public relations and marketing, Cleveland Convention Center and Global Center for Health Innovation.

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