Architect Hired To Conceptualize Med Mart

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In what's being termed a major milestone for the MedMart project, the Seattle based architectural firm LMN has been selected as its conceptual designer. It was chosen over competitors from Atlanta and Kansas City.

LMN has long sought the opportunity, initially submitting convention center designs more than a decade ago - long before the medical mart component entered the mix.

MedMart operator MMPI's Mark Falanga said LMN was not the company he initially thought would be chosen, but that it's efforts won him over.

"LMN distinguished themselves amongst the best of the best, and we felt they were a clear winner in this project because there are such strengths that the brought to the particulars of our project here in Cleveland."

Falanga noted LMN's experience in designing underground facilities, and its expertise in sustainability. He pointed to LMN's completion last year of parts of the Vancounver Convention Center, which is drawing rave reviews at the Olympics this month.

Anticipating backlash because LMN is not local, Jeffrey Appelbaum, the attorney hired by Cuyahoga County to guide the project, defended the company as being one of the nation's elite architects, and stressed that the firms' cost projections were also the best deal the county was offered - at about 2.5 million dollars.

Applebaum all but promised that while the architect may not be a Cleveland company - it will draw heavily from Cleveland to fill its support needs.

"There are going to be substantial opportunities to have some if not all of those roles filled by local businesses and local design professionals."

The medical mart and convention center is still set for a 2013 opening.

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