Why Didn't We Think of That?

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While construction of your $465 million downtown Medical Mart rolls on, plans for what anybody will actually do with it continue to change.

After a September Scene article in which Med Mart GM Brian Casey said the project’s original plans to feature equipment showrooms won’t work, Cuyahoga County Exec Ed FitzGerald appointed a panel to keep an eye on the taxpayer-funded enterprise.

But our October editorial criticized FitzGerald’s choice of panelists, which include the usual health-system CEOs and city and county players. “FitzGerald, instead, should have tapped the sales directors for the health-care divisions of GE and Philips, and perhaps added someone from the Medical Device Manufacturers Association — all of whom could explain how the sought-after tenants sell their wares,” we wrote in a fleeting moment of clarity.

Finally last week, developer MMPI announced it has established its own “Industry Advisory Board” — developer lingo for “Smarter Guys Than Us” — to come up with some answers. Among those invited: GE Healthcare, Philips, and other medical device makers.

An MMPI press release says the board will “provide a medical industry and customer perspective on the activities and tenants that would make the facility attractive to permanent showroom tenants,” all of which would have been swell input to have three years ago.

Problem now is, new rumors have surfaced that MMPI plans to shift its focus yet again — away from permanent showrooms and toward demonstration areas, like the blender guy who juices broccoli on Saturdays at Costco.

MMPI did not return calls and e-mails, so we’ll pass along another suggestion here: Perhaps this would be a good time to try a survey about what your coveted doctors and health professionals would want to find at Cleveland’s Med Mart before committing to bringing their conventions here. Just a thought.

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