Inside Convention Center Days Before Opening

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CLEVELAND – After more than two years of construction, the Cleveland Convention Center (CCC) opens to the public on Saturday.

The glass façade along Lakeside Avenue has been an eye-catcher for curious people walking around downtown.  “It’s progress, very good,” said one woman near the new facility.  “It’s a reason to come down here.”

The estimated $465 million project was completed under budget and involved a complete makeover of Malls B and C and thousands of square feet under Lakeside.

“The Cleveland Convention Center puts Cleveland back on the map as a convention destination,” said Dave Johnson from the CCC.

Johnson took FOX 8 News on a tour of the CCC with its 230,000 sq ft exhibition hall that can handle almost 6,000 people.  It’s where athletes with the National Senior Games Association will gather next month.

“All 10,000 plus athletes coming from all over the United States will register for their 22 sporting events in this space,” said Johnson.  “We’re also expecting an additional 20,000 spectators.”

In addition to the exhibition hall, the grand ballroom can seat about 1,800 people for dinner and also offers a floor-to-ceiling view of Lake Erie and First Energy Stadium.  It will now compete with Columbus, Pittsburgh, Cincinnati and even Charlotte for new business.

“Absolutely such a beautiful venue,” said Christa Meeder from Pittsburgh.  “It’s going to bring so many great opportunities to Cleveland and business and tourism; it's stunning inside.”

The neighboring Global Center for Health Innovation opens in October.  Together, they’re already expected to bring in more than $150 million in economic development.

“Those are people coming to our community that are spending their money here, leaving it here and circulating it into our economy and that's good for Northeast Ohio,” said Johnson.

The ribbon cutting is scheduled for Friday with Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson, Senator Sherrod Brown and other dignitaries.

The public is invited to a “Celebrate the Center” open house on Saturday, June 15, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.  It will feature many family-oriented events, food and Cleveland sports-related activities.

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