Weeks after a rival project in Nashville, Tennessee shut down, developers of the Cleveland Medical Mart & Convention Center made a move we’ve been awaiting for months by announcing two anchor tenants.
Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald said he was excited and a little relieved to announce GE Healthcare and Cleveland Clinic as the first two tenants of the medical mart that is set to open next summer.
FitzGerald acknowledged the skepticism around the medical mart concept and called the questions some of us have been asking over the past several months “appropriate.”
“But the critical tenants that we needed to make this project a success are committing,” he said.
Tom Gentile, the president and CEO of GE Healthcare Systems, said the company will create a permanent showroom for what he called a “laboratory for disease pathways.” GE will display how its cardiology, breast cancer and Alzheimer’s products and services fit into a continuum of care, from screening to diagnosis to treatment and monitoring.
The medical mart will also provide a place where GE can invite global staff, potential customers and innovators to view and provide feedback on its products, he said. “Plus, it allows us to be in close proximity to world-class institutions,” he said. “Cleveland Clinic and University Hospitals have said they will allow us to let people in to see the technology in use.”
Cleveland Clinic chief information officer Martin Harris said the hospital will lease space on the fourth floor of the mart, which will be dedicated to health IT. The Clinic’s announcement isn’t surprising given the role it played in helping gather the project’s high-profile advisory panel, which included GE Healthcare.
Neither of the announced tenants was on the list of “top-tier” tenants developer MMPI identified last year, but they’re both without a doubt the big players in healthcare innovation that the project needs. (However, it’s worth noting that both are already based or have operations in Cleveland.)
Jim Bennett, senior vice president at MMPI, said more of those big names will be coming before the end of the year. About half of the building should be filled with well-known national and international players, with the other half showcasing local companies, he said.
What we won’t see, he said, is any kind of big list of all the tenants being released. MMPI has been tight-lipped about the 20-some companies that have already signed leases, and said tenants will be announced as soon as they’re comfortable with going public. A few more should be ready next month, and even more in December, Bennett said.
The facility is the only medical mart project currently in the works (as far as we’re aware) after similar projects in Nashville and New York failed to get off the ground.