Med Mart Developer Focused on Buyers Before Tenants

A Dallas-based firm proposing a $250 million medical mart in Nashville says getting commitments from potential buyers is more important than signing tenants. Developers addressed business leaders gathered at Lipscomb University Wednesday.

The plan is for a one-stop shop for medical equipment and includes constructing a 12-story tower on top of Nashville’s convention center that was built two decades ago. Device and technology firms would lease space in the tower and larger trade shows would be held in the existing exhibit space.

Market Center Management Company president Bill Winsor says before pre-leasing the building, he’s courting would-be shoppers like Nashville-based hospital chains.

“I had meetings with the providers before I ever had one meeting with prospective tenants because they will determine the success of this project.”

Winsor says companies like HCA have shown some interest. However, the industry giant has not publicly endorsed the project. Winsor says it’s important that HCA and others do, so tenants are confident someone will be shopping at the mart.

Lipscomb Announces Med Mart Satellite Campus

The plan also envisions educational events. Lipscomb’s Turney Stevens says the university will organize continuing ed programs and training on medical equipment.

“Long form, short form, one day, one week programs. We’ll also be locating our graduate degree program to what will become our downtown campus.”

The campus will be called the National Center for Health Care Education and Innovation.

Stevens says it should help drive traffic to the medical mart and create more visibility for the educational programs. Lipscomb’s College of Business also plans to expand its degree offerings focused in health care.

New York and Cleveland are also working toward building their own medical marts, and in some ways are further along than Nashville. Market Center president Bill Winsor says he thinks the cost would be too high in New York to make such a project profitable. And he says Cleveland doesn’t have the appeal, citing a new Forbes poll in which it ranked first as the most miserable city in the U.S.

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