Med Mart Scuttled, But Dean Not Overly Worried

The would-be developer of a Nashville “med mart” says it’s giving up on the project. The Nashville Medical Trade Center had been slated to take over the city’s 25-year-old downtown convention center, but it struggled to sign on enough companies.

The plan was to create a one-stop shop for hospitals, with venders like suppliers and device-makers.

Analysts warned such a unique project wouldn’t work if there were more than one. Cleveland is more than half-done with its Medical Mart and Convention Center set to open next July, and Nashville Mayor Karl Dean hinted last week the plan might not work out.

“But I’m not worried about it. That’s a great piece of real estate. That’s a great location right in the heart of everything, so it’ll work out.”

In a statement today Dean says he’s disappointed, but understands the weak economy made the project harder. Looking forward, he says the property is drawing a lot of interest.

STATEMENTS

From Mayor Dean:

“A medical mart in a healthcare hub like Nashville made a lot of sense and was an exciting prospect. While I am disappointed that the Nashville Medical Trade Center is not moving forward, I understand that the challenges associated with a down economy made this project difficult. The convention space remains a desirable piece of property located in a vibrant area of our downtown. It is a great asset generating a lot of interest, and the city will put it to good use.”

From developer Bill Winsor:

October 11, 2012

Today we have reached out to partners, organizations and individuals associated with the Nashville Medical Trade Center in order to announce the formal suspension of the project.

Ending a development venture with such clear benefits for the health care industry has been a difficult decision but ultimately we were unable to meet our internal leasing targets. As we said from the outset, we would only proceed if we secured a critical mass of signed, long-term leases from industry leaders that would allow us to confidently take the project into the marketplace for financing.

I have been in the trade center business for more than three decades, and I was never more enthusiastic about a trade center concept. The idea was bold, the location was advantageous, the design was compelling, and our team worked diligently to make it a reality. We were always met with enthusiasm by companies and organizations, and we were joined by partners with the foresight to support the durable benefits of a single home for health care commerce, education and innovation.

Unfortunately, long-term vision was met head-on by the shorter term realities of the sluggish U.S. economy, health care policy uncertainty and the immediate pressures on quarterly revenues that created barriers for many global companies.

We are thankful to the City of Nashville, the State of Tennessee and the many business and civic leaders who offered encouragement and counsel.

As we traveled the world promoting Nashville’s health care leadership we were proud to hear time and again that Nashville deserves its reputation as an innovative and pro-business municipality. That Tennessee is a state where companies feel uniquely and passionately supported as they expand and create economic opportunity. We are confident that under a different set of circumstances Nashville remains the ideal location for a global health care trade center. And we hope to have the opportunity to conduct business in Tennessee at a future date.

Bill Winsor,
President and CEO
Market Center Management Company

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