Erik Schelzig, AP
Market Center Management has announced plans to build and operate a $250 million Nashville Medical Trade Center on the site of the city's existing convention center. Officials say it could create 2,700 jobs. The 12-story structure would be built on top of the largely underground facility that would become available if the Metro Council approves the construction of a new $585 million convention center a few blocks away.
Rival medical mart projects are being pursued in Cleveland and New York. Each would create a central place where makers of health care-related products and technology could feature offerings to buyers. Bill Winsor, chief executive of Market Center Management, said he expects the Nashville mart to prevail as New YorK is too expensive and because “Cleveland, in our mind, is not a health care destination.”
County commissioners in Cleveland increased the sales tax by a quarter percentage point to help pay for the $425 million project. Officials at New York's World Product Centre project say construction on a 60-story building in Manhattan should begin next year. But Winsor said doesn't foresee multiple medical marts around the country. “I don't think that the industry is going to accept more than one,” he said.
Winsor said the Nashville project is contingent on signing pre-leasing agreements. The company usually sets a goal of filling between 65 percent and 70 percent of capacity before starting construction, he said. The mart is designed to house between 600 and 1,000 permanent tenants. Construction is slated to begin late next year and open its doors about the same time as the new convention center in 2013.