Submitted by Roldo on Tue, 01/27/2009 - 11:02.

Oh, boy, we’re not going straight, not taking a right turn or a left. Now it’s make a U-turn, Cleveland.

I thought the powers that be here didn’t know what direction they were going on the Medical Mart and Convention Center. Then the decision last week by the County Commissioners was to go the Mall site.

I thought Sam Miller and Al Ratner and Scott Wolstein were out of the game.

I didn’t expect that Mayor Frank Jackson would still take up the Forest City cause.

I was wrong.

Mayor Jackson can now be considered Mayor of Tower City.

My plan: Let’s call the whole thing off.

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things Frank is thinking about

Frank Jackson sent us an email covering his concerns about the medcon. Let's recap. Frank is concerned about the following things:

Value of City Property:  Cleveland’s existing historic Public Auditorium and Convention Center are remarkable assets.  I will negotiate with Cuyahoga County to ensure that the City of Cleveland receives appropriate compensation for the property and operations.

Cleveland ought to be able to get more than Sam and Al wanted for the cliff behind Tower City; after all Public Auditorium is a huge asset.

Physical Foundation of Current Convention Center:  The plans for the new convention center call for a modification to the existing foundation of the convention center, which reduced the cost estimate for the Mall Site by more than $100 million. This design is based on the assumption that this concept will work and that this foundation will be sufficient to support the new convention center.  If the assumption is proved wrong, the project cost could potentially increase by more than $100 million.

Let's check that math and in true Cleveland style - have another study. Who will pay for the next study?

Potential Conflict of Benefit:  It is important to recognize that at times, the interests of the private developer/operator and those of the public funding the project may be in conflict.  The development agreement should address this issue to protect the public’s interest while ensuring the developer/operator’s prospects for success.

WTF!?! Are we just getting this concept now? Frank, Frank Frank! You coulda signed the petition to put it on the ballot two years ago! We were just asking for this level of accountability and planning. Sheesh! Let them come, let them pay, be sure they pay taxes. If they have incentive to succeed they will, if not, they will fail and we will still pay. Is that how it goes?

Functioning of New Convention Center:  The current plans call for 270,000 square feet of contiguous exhibition space which is 30,000 square feet less than experts indicate is needed. I will be working to ensure that the new convention center is built to achieve Cleveland’s goal of being competitive in attracting convention business.  This means we need a state-of-the-art facility with expert-approved features, technology, meeting rooms, exhibit space and connectivity. 

Aw shucks, I sorta doubt we need to be quite this niggling - 30,000 square feet smaller? How big does a silver bullet have to be to kill you? So far the expert's numbers have been all over the place. Better study that one again too.

The Development Agreement:  This agreement is being negotiated between MMPI and the County.  Key points that I am looking to have addressed in this agreement are:  the elements listed above, clarification on future payments of property tax for the new facilities; clarification on who is responsible for cost overruns on the project and inclusion of the City of Cleveland’s local hiring and MBE/FBE requirements as well as Cleveland-area small business contracting requirements.

It is interesting that Frank is raising these concerns at this time. What? Didn't he care until now?

Frank, Frank - you need to read social networking sites and local blogs - the PD will not alert you to such questions (which have been raised and raised and raised and ignored by the county for months). Consult with Ed Morrison - he's been at this for a while and his creds are topnotch. He lives here and is paying the tax. Really Frank, try to use your assets.

The newsletter is nice (not quite up to Obama standards, but hey, this is Cleveland), but it is a oneway communication vehicle.

Maybe Frank needs his own blog. I can see why he might not wanyt one since Cleveland.com is such a cesspool for niggling comments, but whatever.  Doesn't Frank have to talk to the same nigglers when he's out of the office and the car? Maybe the city should employ technology to keep us a bit better informed - like this: Gates Calls Internet Best Hope for Government Transparency At least between the county and the cities, we'd have an idea of just what's going on... Maybe even they would be able to better follow these circuitous deals. Lead the county, Frank, get out in front!

In the meantime, as I have stated before - I wholeheartedly agree with Roldo and many others. Let's call the whole thing off.


Having done NOTHING up to now except shill for FCE, Frank knows little else. He is in the process of trying to kill the deal right now, in hopes that FCE/GCP can pick up the peices. That maybe BUT, they will have to do it without MMPI. As a long in the tooth lifeime resident FLA is starting to look pretty good. I know not very many will miss my small business. What's another board up among so many.