Stung in recent weeks by back-and-forth talk of a changing business focus and free space giveaways, the property developer behind the Cleveland Medical Mart & Convention Center project now has a new oversight panel.
Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald appointed the panel to “ensure the best possible outcome” for the project, which may or may not be changing its business model to a center for medical education rather than a collection of medical equipment showrooms.
The panel includes several local healthcare luminaries, including the chief executives of Cleveland Clinic, University Hospitals and MetroHealth System. It also includes politicians such as FitzGerald and Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson.
Chicago-based MMPI, the project’s developer, is welcoming the appointment of the panel, at least publicly. “MMPI is looking forward to working with the panel and others to ensure that the integrated facility reaches its full vision as a destination for the medical industry, conventions and trade show customers,” CEO Mark Falanga said in a prepared statement from the County.
The statement, however, did nothing to clear up confusion about the (possibly) changing direction of the medical mart. The confusion stems from seemingly contradictory statements project General Manager Brian Casey made in two separate interviews over the last month or so.
In a Plain Dealer interview, Casey sought to tamp down comments he’d made in a prior interview to Scene about a shifting focus for the medical mart. An MMPI spokesman hasn’t responded to several inquiries in recent weeks seeking clarification on future plans for the medical mart.
Following are members of the new oversight panel:
C. Ellen Connally, president, Cuyahoga County Council
Dr. Toby Cosgrove, CEO, Cleveland Clinic Foundation
Ed FitzGerald, Cuyahoga County executive
David Gilbert, president, Positively Cleveland
Mayor Frank Jackson, City of Cleveland
Sr. Judith Ann Karam, CSA, president and CEO, Sisters of Charity Health System
Mark Moran, CEO, MetroHealth Medical Center
Baiju Shah, CEO, BioEnterprise, Inc.
Tom Zenty, CEO, University Hospitals
Joseph Roman, CEO, Greater Cleveland Partnership