The rival of Cleveland’s soon-to-be medical mart is no more, at least for the time being.
While top leadership at MMPI, the developer of Cleveland’s $465 million Medical Mart & Convention Center (who, by the way, haven’t exactly been best friends with the leadership at MCM) are likely basking in the news, this doesn’t exactly bode well for the Cleveland project.
Yes, Cleveland’s medical mart has definitely made it off the ground, but the mart concept hasn’t been tested in healthcare, and there’s been skepticism from taxpayers and industry critics alike. A similar project in New York never got off the ground, and Nashville’s project has been presumed dead more than once, although a few high-profile tenants who signed on recently seemed to reignite some confidence in the project.
In his announcement, MCM CEO Bill Windsor said the project was unable to meet its leasing targets, although he insisted the interest was there.
“We were always met with enthusiasm by companies and organizations, and we were joined by partners with the foresight to support the durable benefits of a single home for health care commerce, education and innovation,” he said. “Unfortunately, long-term vision was met head-on by the shorter term realities of the sluggish U.S. economy, health care policy uncertainty and the immediate pressures on quarterly revenues that created barriers for many global companies.”
Unlike the Nashville project, Cleveland’s medical mart is publicly funded, which was a battle in itself but has supported construction of the facility, scheduled to open next summer. But to prove sustainable as an actual medical mart, and not just a convention center, the project still needs buy-in from the industry’s big players.
In a statement emailed today, Jim Bennett, senior vice president of MMPI, noted that the Cleveland facility has less showroom space to fill than Nashville did and touted the project’s star-studded advisory board. But to really be successful, MMPI needs to turn some of those advisory board members into tenants. It’s still failed to name any of the first 20 tenants we’ve been hearing about for five months now, and the preliminary list released early last year was lacking big names.
The pressure is on MMPI as the remaining medical mart project, which could either turn out to be a trailblazer for future medical marts or a nice, expensive convention center downtown.
Calls to both MMPI and MCM weren’t returned.