CLEVELAND (WJW)– Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson addressed the closing the I-X Center during his news conference on Thursday.

The I-X Center, home of the Cleveland Auto Show, the I-X Indoor Amusement Park and other annual conventions, announced on Wednesday it will close at the end of the year. The I-X Corporation, which has handled the day-to-day operations at the facility since 1999, blamed the coronavirus pandemic for decimating the event industry.

Jackson said the city will examine how best to use the space in the future.

“The I-X Center has been a significant asset to the city of Cleveland. The loss of that operation, we’re going to fill it, not only in terms of revenue, but in future activities going forward,” Jackson said.

He also thanked Park Corporation head Ray Park for managing the center.

“Just like many things, this pandemic has really hurt a lot of people and a lot of businesses, whether small or large, and the fact that he could not put on shows, it’s hard to carry cost with zero revenue. It’s just part of the negative impact of this pandemic.”

Cleveland Department of Port Control Director Robert Kennedy said the city will lose more than $2 million a year in lease payments. He said it will be a financial burden that the airport will have to handle.

The I-X Center Corporation’s current lease on the building ends in August 2024, but it has an interest for another 19 years, according to Kennedy. The 75 employees will be paid through Nov. 15.

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