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Goodbye, The Sportsman restaurant. Hello, Medical Mart — MedCity Morning Read, June 30, 2009

A long-debated medical merchandise mart will be built on the site of The Sportsman restaurant on St. Clair Avenue in downtown Cleveland. “I don’t think there is a bump in the road that can dislodge us from future progress,” Medical Mart Properties Inc. President Christopher Kennedy told a City Club of Cleveland forum on Monday.

CLEVELAND, Ohio — A long-debated medical merchandise mart will be built on the site of The Sportsman restaurant on St. Clair Avenue in downtown Cleveland, the president of the project’s developer told a City Club of Cleveland audience on Monday, according to The Plain Dealer.

Merchandise Mart Properties Inc. (MMPI) President Christopher Kennedy disclosed the location during a forum about the proposed medical mart and convention center complex at the City Club. Kennedy was joined at the forum by Cleveland Clinic CEO Toby Cosgrove, who is given credit for proposing the idea of a medical mart in Cleveland, and Cuyahoga County Commissioner Tim Hagan, the Plain Dealer said.

I don’t think there is a bump in the roadthat  can dislodge us from future progress,” Kennedy told the City Club forum, according to Crain’s Cleveland Business. Discussed for three years, some have doubted the complex would be built.

MMPI proposes to build and operate the mart and new convention center on the site of the city’s existing convention center. County commissioners have said the project, including land purchases, will not cost more than $425 million, according to the Plain Dealer.

Kennedy’s announcement seems to end the debate about the location of the mart, planned as a showcase for medical technology, equipment and other products that could lure medical conventions to the city, the Plain Dealer said. But Cuyahoga County Administrator James McCafferty said a deal with the restaurant is close, but not final, according to the newspaper.

Kennedy said he expects to have engineering plans in hand this week for the renovation of the city’s existing convention center — Public Auditorium — which is expected to open next year as the first part of the project, Crain’s said. 

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[Rendering credit: Merchandise Mart Properties Inc.]