Submitted by Roldo on Thu, 01/01/2009 - 15:59.

Just as a reminder that there is plenty of room for meetings without a new convention center. Why doesn’t Cleveland Positively sell out of these venues? Quoting from a Cleveland Crain’s Business listings here are convention and meeting spaces available in Cleveland and its near suburbs. Lest we forget in order to build another structure for the Forest City Gang: - Cleveland Convention Center – 124,067 square feet of meeting space. - I-X Center – 101,045 square feet. - Playhouse Square Center – 90,000 square feet. - Renaissance Cleveland Hotel – 62,000 square feet. - House of Blues – 45,000 square feet. - Wolstein Center at CSU - 43,676 square feet. - Corporate College (CCC) East – 35,300 square feet. - International Hotel and Conference Center at Cleveland Clinic – 35,000 square feet. - Executive Caterers at Landerhaven – 28,000 square feet. - Crown Plaza Hotel – 27,000 square feet. - La Centre Conference 26,000 square feet. - Forum Conference Center – 25,000 square feet. - John Carroll University – 24,548. - Ritz-Carlton Hotel – 24,466 square feet. - Quicken Arena – 24,000 square feet. - Sheraton Cleveland at Airport – 22,000 square feet. Seems to me a lot of space to fill with visitors rather than spend $1 billion more on a new convention center with no assurance that it can be filled enough days to pay for the cost.

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what are the numbers for convention center in the new economy

I read today in the PD about theaters scaling back due to the economic downturn,  but I have yet to read about cut backs in the convention business. This article should be in process currently somewhere. As budgets tighten, why would a company take on the additional expense of sending their employees to another city incurring hotel stays, travel and per diem when they can find the resources online or use the telephone and videoconferencing to achieve the same aim?

But to your point about Cleveland already having plenty of space, I posted images of the Cleveland facility - Public Auditorium a while back here at realneo.  I asked readers to try to find it online, book the space and report about how the process went. I had no takers. However, I tried in April of 2008 to book the Little Theater in Public Hall. I had to look up the phone number for Public Hall and wait while being transferred for several minutes before I got a gentleman who said he would mail the stuff to me. I received a packet of information about a week later. By that time I had booked the Renaissance Hotel Grand Ballroom for the event. 

Searching again just now for public hall cleveland convention booking I came up with first the public hall wikipedia entry and then this discussion of convention center sites from urban ohio.

What this means to me is that if our current sites are not being used to capacity it may be a problem of technological antiquity. Even the Convention Center link on the wikipedia entry sends me to a page at the city which describes the facility (poorly and with no photos of the beautiful building) and does not provide a link to learn about hosting an event there.  Now how would I, if I were looking to book a conference there, know that it exists? Another search gave me a convention center hotel guide. The address of the agency who owns this site is in Pittsburgh.

So far I have not seen Cleveland+ on pages 1 or 2 of any of these searches. Nor have I found a page describing the Cleveland Convention Center with info on how to book it. In the last search, I came up with a page titled "search"; the url reads "positivelycleveland". It seems to be saying that the CVB is lost in their own city. Why would anyone choose Cleveland when we can't even promote the spaces we have now?

MMPI must be out of their minds. Hopefully they have realized this and are just trying to figure out a way yo let Tim and Toby down easily.

OK, so I found a tiny link on that positively cleveland page that reads Meeting Facilities + Unique Venues (though if you bring your cursor down to meet it, it changes to reflect another set of subtitles and seems to have disappeared). I persisted and found this: "Funding is in place for a new convention center to be built in conjunction with a state-of-the-art Medical Mart. Although the specifications for the new center haven’t yet been determined, a committee has recommended the site at Tower City along the riverfront.   Construction may begin as early as 2009. Read more here." And, yep "here" is the old 404.

I do wish someone at Cleveland+ or the City of Cleveland knew how to use the internet. Finally at the page which describes our public convention center space, it looks like they had a first attempt web designer working on the page. Check it out: cleveland convention center. Would you want to work with that? If you found it? No pictures... not one.

So before I left this odyssey, I decided to try searching public hall at positively cleveland. Here's what I got - everything but Public Hall. It's no wonder that we want MMPI to do the business for us. We don't seem to be able to use today's technology to promote what we have. Granted if I just search cleveland convention I get to positively cleveland, but there is no "booking information" link prominently displayed in the options offered by Google and I have to go to the site and wade around.

Well... try austin convention booking and see if you might know a bit more about what you'd be getting into there. How about some video of the site? Thomas Mulready could do it in a day and post it to Coolcleveland - why not Cleveland+?

Some folks might be interested to know that you can book a convention in a beautiful space (historic and not) and have plenty of amenities nearby. And you can virtually have them all to yourself because Cleveland is as dead as a door nail after 5pm most weeknights. Want a table for dinner? Yes, we have one.

On Friday night I went to a movie at Hoyt Cinemas. There were five people in the theater - three of us and two others. When it was over we saw four others leaving their movie. Though people were streaming out of the Cavs game along the corridor as we went in, Tower City cleaning crews had already begun mopping the floors in the food court - only to have to mop them again after the exodus.

My mother's words come to mind: Use what you have to your advantage. Stop whining for a new dress when you refuse to wear the one you have. A new dress does not necessarily the new suitor win. Washing your face and hands might just do the trick. Waste not want not.


Thanks for all the comment

Thanks for all the comment and for the link to the urban comment site with photos of the back of the Tower City site.

Using what we have is a good lesson.