Cleveland Boat Show maps return in January to the IX Center

The Progressive Cleveland Boat Show and Fishing Expo will return to the IX Center in January, after reaching a deal with the site’s new operator.

The Lake Erie Marine Trades Association, which produces the event, agreed late last week to end contractual disputes with IX Center Corp., the company that controls the town’s property. The organizers of the boat show have reached an agreement to move forward with Industrial Real Estate Group LLC, which bought the shares of IX Center Corp. August 31.

The 2022 boat show will take place from January 13 to 17.

The Lake Erie Marine Trades Association has spearheaded the major show producers who are fighting with IX Center Corp. for much of a year. The producers of the Cleveland Auto Show, the Great Big Home and Garden Show, and the Ohio RV Supershow all made deals with Industrial Realty Group before the recent change of control of the IX Center.

Days after the stock was sold, however, the boat show signed on.

“We are delighted to bring the show back after a year of absence,” said Michelle Burke, president of the association, in a statement.

A subsidiary of IRG acquired the shares of IX Center Corp. from Park Corp., a family business conglomerate, for an undisclosed price. Park Corp. chairman Ray Park had controlled the IX Center since 1977, first as the building owner and then as the main tenant.

“The boat show has been held at the IX Center for 35 years,” Burke said in the press release, “and now that Ray Park has passed the torch to the highly regarded Industrial Realty Group who want major public shows to continue there – low., we look forward to many years to come. “

California-based IRG and its joint venture partner, Industrial Commercial Properties LLC de Solon, plan to reposition Center IX as a hybrid property – with events occupying a smaller footprint, industrial tenants throughout the rest of the huge complex, and potential development on the surrounding land.

The building, a former WWII bomber factory, spans 2.2 million square feet. It occupies a sprawling site next to the Cleveland Hopkins International Airport.

The City of Cleveland has owned the real estate since 1999.

The IX Center Corp. lease on the property runs until August 31, 2024, but has three five-year extension options, extending through mid-2039.

Industrial Realty Group, a national real estate developer, is about to hire a professional management company to oversee the shows. Events at the IX Center could resume as early as November, with a revival of the popular IX Christmas Connection.

The building has been silent since March 2020, when the coronavirus pandemic and government health orders sidelined large gatherings and threw the event industry into limbo. IX Center Corp. laid off most of its employees and announced a shutdown a year ago.

The Lake Erie Marine Trades Association has moved to a partly virtual model for the boat show this year, with online programming and events scattered across the dealerships. The 2022 in-person show will feature over 200 exhibits and hundreds of boats, from paddleboards to yachts.

In an interview, Burke said the show will offer a multi-day ticket for the first time.

Like other event producers moved when the IX Center closed, the Lake Erie Marine Trades Association considered moving the boat show to the much smaller Huntington Convention Center in downtown Cleveland.

Burke said the convention center management team was great to work with. But, she said, “Center IX is much better suited to what we do and the size of our product.”

The Great Big Home and Garden Show will return to the IX Center from February 11 to 20. The Cleveland Auto Show will run from February 25 to March 6.

The Ohio RV Supershow will return to the building in fall 2022. This year’s show, called Outdoor Fall RV Fest, will be held at the Medina County Fairgrounds in October.


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