After months of debate over the location of Cleveland’s new convention center and medical mart, Cuyahoga County commissioners and Merchandise Mart Properties Inc., the project's private-sector developer, announced last week that they would build the new development at the site of the current city-owned convention center site and its adjacent green space in downtown Cleveland.

The $425 million project will greatly expand Cleveland’s convention capabilities. Plans call for 300,000 square feet of new exhibition space and refurbishment of the 30,000-square-foot Public Auditorium, as well as a four-story, 100,000-square-foot showroom for medical technology and equipment that’s expected to draw health-care professionals to the city. Construction on the project could begin by the end of the year.

The downtown convention center site is within a 19-minute walk of 3,100 hotel rooms as well as the Warehouse District and East Fourth Street entertainment areas.