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Newly created Cleveland Innovation District to fuel medical research, create billions in economic impact

View of downtown Cleveland from AirTracker 5
Posted at 3:10 PM, Jan 25, 2021

CLEVELAND — On Monday, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine announced the creation of the Cleveland Innovation District, a partnership to position Ohio as a competitive place to look to for medical advancements while boosting the area’s economy.

The state and its partners will be investing $565 million to the Cleveland Innovation District, DeWine announced Monday.

The partnership of the Cleveland Innovation District includes Cleveland Clinic, University Hospitals, MetroHealth, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland State University, JobsOhio, InnovateOhio, Ohio Development Services Agency, DeWine, and Lt. Gov. Jon Husted.

A significant portion of the $535 million investment will be put towards the Global Center for Pathogen Research and Human Health to create research, developments, and job opportunities to advance healthcare in Ohio, nationally, and around the world, DeWine said.

The Global Center for Pathogen Research and Human Health and the Cleveland Innovation District will focus on broadening the understanding of viruses and aim to help prevent the next generation from facing a health threat like the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

According to Dr. Tom Mihaljevic, the new Cleveland center will be located on the Main Campus near the Lerner Research Institute.

The research will expand globally to centers in Florida, Abu Dhabi, and London, Mihaljevic said.

“The center’s research team will actively work and study, preparing and protecting against public health threats that we’ve seen overwhelm every country across the globe,” Mihaljevic said. “Our work will also focus on virus-induced cancers.”

“It’s the largest research initiative in our organizations history.”

“The Cleveland Clinic’s expansion of our center will create 1,000 Cleveland Clinic jobs, future the center and our partners hundreds of jobs to Ohio.”

Additional work and research will be conducted outside of the facility by University Hospitals, MetroHealth, Case Western, and Cleveland State that will complement the work that will take place in the Global Center for Pathogen Research and Human Health, according to Dr. Akram Boutros, president, and CEO of the MetroHealth System.

Of the $565 million initial investment, $155 million will come from the state, $110 million will come from JobsOhio and $300 million will come from the Cleveland Clinic.

Additional investments will be made to the Cleveland Innovation District over the next decade, DeWine said, which will create additional jobs and opportunities throughout the region.

Lydia Mihalik, Director of the Development Services Agency said the State of Ohio is helping in other ways.

"This morning the Ohio Tax Credit Authority approved a job creation tax credit, with an estimated value of 55-million dollars," Mihalik said.

The state expects that the Cleveland Innovation District will create an estimated 20,000 jobs over the next 10 years, 10,000 of which will be direct jobs in healthcare and high-tech industries in the area.

In addition to creating jobs and expanding research, the goal of the Cleveland Innovation District is to also accelerate STEM graduates in the area over the next 10 years.

DeWine said the estimated economic impact in Cleveland over the next 10 years will be around $3 billion.

“This partnership and investment is a long term goal of turning Cleveland into literally the hub for healthcare innovation and opportunity in the world,” DeWine said.

For those not in the medical field wondering how the Cleveland Innovation District will impact them, DeWine and Husted said the answer is within the economy.

"Anytime that Ohio can move forward it really does benefit every Ohioan," DeWine said. "Success breeds success and success attracts investment."

Harlan Sands, President of Cleveland State University told News 5 the initiative will connect education and jobs for local students, as well as students across the globe.

"So when we market this together, you come to Cleveland State you get a job at U.H, you come to Cleveland State you get a job at the clinic," Sand said.

"But I'm going to be able to recruit students from all over the county, if not all over the world, that's the next phase of growth."

"We found a way to pull together, even though on some levels we compete."

"We're never going to meet our employment goals just by companies coming in and bringing the people with them, they're going to come because we have the talent to attract them."

Meanwhile, Husted said the new center and the economic impact it will bring to the city within the medical field will also resonate outward to other industries as well.

"When you attract economic activity, it ripples throughout your entire economy," Husted said. "When you bring new investment in here and you bring new people, you create all of the jobs that support that. From the service sector that will begin to have more customers, from the homes and the real estate that gets purchased to the tax revenue that you get for local government when you have a growing economy—it ripples throughout the economy and it raises everybody's standard of living up."