CLEVELAND, Ohio — The International Exposition Center, which for 35 years has hosted major events in the city, is closing, a casualty of the coronavirus pandemic.
“The global pandemic has decimated the event industry as well as many other businesses and has ultimately led to this decision,” said a press statement.
The 2.2-million-square-foot event center is owned by the city of Cleveland, which acquired it in a land swap with Brook Park in 1999. Since that time, it has been leased to the I-X Center Corporation, which handled the day-to-day operations for the facility. It welcomed as many as 2 million visitors a year for events including the Great Big Home and Garden Show, the I-X Indoor Amusement Park, boat shows and more.
The city initially acquired the building to tear it down to make room for a new runway at adjacent Cleveland Hopkins International Airport. That runway was subsequently determined to not be necessary.
It was not immediately clear who made the decision to shutter the facility.
In 1942, the U.S. War Department authorized construction of the massive facility for military components, calling it the Cleveland Bomber Plant and later the Cleveland Tank Plant. It was operated by General Motors.
The building was vacant from 1970 to 1977, when the Park Corp. bought it and began turning it into an exhibit hall. The I-X Center was dedicated in 1985.
This story will be updated.