CLEVELAND, Ohio – The Cuyahoga County Council on Tuesday approved a $40.4 million expansion of the International Health Innovation Center at Cleveland’s Huntington Convention Center.
County funds will cover most of the Global Center renovation, including $31 million in debt and $9.4 million in cash, including $5 million in federal stimulus funds, $3 million in general funds and $1.4 million in convention center designations. Rights continue.
The Cuyahoga County Convention Facilities Development Corporation — a nonprofit that oversees both facilities and is funded by annual fees from the county — will pay an additional $9 million from the budget to complete the project.
Improvement plans total $54 million, although that figure includes a $5 million skybridge between the convention center and the Marriott hotel, which the council has not officially considered.
The cost of the renovation plan for the center, formerly known as the Medical Mart, has raised eyebrows as county residents react. cleveland.com Scan and counter to more money that many see as a building block.
The two candidates running to replace current County Executive Armond Budish next year — Republican Lee Wingart and Democrat Chris Ronin — also oppose the spending.
In the year The center, which completed construction in 2013, has been mostly open for years. The construction, along with the renovation of the convention center that was tied up a decade ago, cost county taxpayers $465 million.
The Cuyahoga County Convention Facility Development Corporation, county leaders and tourism officials want the facility renovated to serve as additional space for the convention center. More business.
The renovation will double the size of a small ballroom to 22,000 square feet, create additional meeting space on the upper level of the building, and add ramps, stairs, restrooms and other improvements to accommodate conventions and large audiences. .
David Gilbert, president and CEO of Destination Cleveland, previously said the renovations will bring Cuyahoga to the “middle of the pack” in the convention industry, but doing nothing will hurt the convention business.
It is expected to take 20 years to pay off the $31 million in economic development revenue bonds the county is spending to cover the renovations. Annual debt payments total $2.5 million, to be split equally between the county and the nonprofit that manages the complex. The county expects a 5% interest rate, but the final amount won’t be known until the bonds are issued.
The House voted 8-1 in favor of the plan on Tuesday. Nan Baker was the only member against. Cheryl Stephenson and Jack Schroon were absent and did not vote.
Baker said the county needs to do something to repurpose the Global Center, and will select components of the renovation plans, such as adding ramps and improving the outdoor park. But she drew the line on plans to expand the ballroom, which she said would cost $20 million. Baker said the expansion should be considered at a later date after officials have demonstrated the success of the initial renovations.
One supporter, Sunny Simon, said the plan was necessary because the Global Center is attached to the convention center and “no one is going to come in and take this room.” “He’s going to rot… I think it’s short-sighted of us to just let him go.