Cleveland Medical Mart & Convention Center

Independence Excavating kicked off construction at the new Cleveland Medical Mart & Convention Center project in downtown Cleveland in January 2011. The original Cleveland Convention Center was constructed in 1931 and expanded in 1962. The structure itself was a concrete structure encompassing 14 acres underground in the center of Cleveland between City Hall, Cuyahoga County buildings, the Public Auditorium, and Key Tower and Marriot Center. Cuyahoga County teamed with Medical Mart Properties to demolish the aged structure, build a new steel open structure, and develop a medical showroom facility in the southwest corner utilizing additional commercial space. As the old structure was underground, below grassed public mall space, the new convention center design would be returned to the public mall space to preserve the public access to the lake and nearby Browns stadium.

Demolition of the old Convention Center

The first phase included the demolition of the existing convention center in Malls B and C, demolition of five buildings in the block of Ontario St. and St. Clair Ave., the earthwork and utilities for the new Medical Mart facility, and dewatering the existing water table on the site for construction. With the extensive planning of our field managers, dispatch team, and heavy and support shops, Independence Excavating began dismantling the site and attacking the aggressive schedule to clear the site for the new facility. We followed Precision Environmental Co. who cleared areas of asbestos. We then demolished the massive structure to 45 feet below street level in preparation for the foundation and concrete contractors.

Since the existing facility extends beneath Lakeside Ave. between Malls B and C, Independence Excavating coordinated with the construction teams to temporarily support Lakeside Ave. while demolition and construction of the new facility occurred beneath it. Bracing of the existing roadway required massive girders salvaged from the site and ensured no interruption to the Lakeside Ave. traffic during the project.

Another key component of the project was extending the new facility to the south and west to within feet of St. Clair Ave., and to the west into the existing block of buildings. The new structure extends 40 feet below grade, right against the existing street level.

Site Work and Landscaping Begins on the New Medical Mart

Our next phase began in late January of 2012 when we were awarded the second contract with Turner Construction for the final site work and landscaping on the downtown malls overtop the convention center. As steel erection, concrete decking, and waterproofing unfolded, we followed directly behind. Extruded polystyrene block, more commonly known as geofoam was used as the main fill material over the structure to ensure the lighter loading capacity of the structural deck. A total of 48,000 CY of this material was shipped in blocks, and required intensive design and labor to ensure the proper fit and placement of each block. Drainage layers of specialized, organic and blended soils were used for the lawn and landscaped areas. The contract for restoration of the malls also included the flatwork for public gathering areas, walkways and streetscapes for the new public space.

As the project continues to push through the middle and the end of 2012, IX expects to complete Mall C (north of Lakeside Avenue) in late summer, and be completed with the Medical Mart area and Mall B by January 2013, with the entire surface malls open to the public at that point. The entire Medical Mart and Convention Center project is expected to open in Summer 2013.

There has been a collective team-effort so far in building this project, especially with the level of detail and engineering involved. The IX team has proven that we have been up to the challenge from day one and agree that the completion of this job will be a welcoming accomplishment. We greatly appreciate all our dedicated employees, subcontractors, suppliers and team members for their efforts to date and their continued support in bringing this project to its finality.

The Results

Our skilled and dedicated field forces worked tireless hours and had the main hole opened up in the Mall within a few months for the next phase of subcontractors to begin building construction. We then brought the water table down to complete the excavation and complete the utilities and remaining foundation excavation in summer 2011. By the start of 2012, Turner and the other trades had established the new structure and our crews began assembling the site back to the public downtown space that enhanced the Cleveland experience. All told, Independence Excavating was a key player in driving Turner's schedule to complete the project 2 months early. The project is a collection of many proud accomplishments, from the work planning and progression, to the revitalization effort of downtown, to the overall cooperation and working together with Cuyahoga County, Med Mart Properties, and Turner Construction. One of the pinnacle accomplishments of the project, however is approximately 200,000 manhours worked safely on this job alone.


Cleveland, Ohio


Demolition, earthwork, utilities and site development for the new Cleveland Medical Mart and Convention Center

Services Performed

Project Management

Managing complex projects calls for expert engineering.


Large-scale jobs require a financially stable partner.