by Ashley Bishop, CCIM
Health care is one of Nashville’s leading industries. Nashville is home to more than 300 health care companies, 33 of which are major organizations, and nearly half of investor-owned hospitals in the U.S. are owned or operated by companies headquartered in Nashville.
Like the auto industry, health care has many components, so it makes sense logistically that a company manufacturing hospital beds or imaging equipment, for example, would want to be located close to companies who purchase most of their products, just the same as auto suppliers locate close to major auto manufacturing facilities.
This is where the Nashville Medical Trade Center, aka Med Mart, comes into play. An idea that started several years ago and may come to fruition soon, Med Mart will be the first of its kind in the world and will tremendously benefit Nashville and the entire health care industry. Med Mart will convert the existing convention center into a 1.5M SF permanent medical trade show, becoming the global headquarters for health care events.
There are more than 500 health care trade shows held nationally each year. Imagine a state-of-the-art facility in downtown Nashville with permanent showrooms to host these events. It will provide a single venue for the leading health care companies to showcase their products and services.
It’s estimated that more than 300 health care companies will have permanent Med Mart space. These showrooms will include imaging equipment, surgical equipment and supplies, laboratory equipment, medical devices, building and design materials, dental, lighting and illumination, consulting/advisory firms, associations and more. Med Mart will also feature 150,000 SF of temporary exhibit space, conference halls and room for training and education.
The proposed Med Mart plans to renovate the current convention center immediately following the grand opening of the new LEED Certified Nashville Music City Center. This new 1.2M SF convention center is going to be an architectural wonder, covering 16 acres two blocks south of the existing center, and surrounded by the Schermerhorn Symphony Center, the Frist Center and Bridgestone Arena.
For Med Mart to break ground it must be 60 percent pre-leased. Just last month, Med Mart announced an 80,000 SF lease with RHCC, who plans to develop in three phases. One of these phases will include the Intelligent Hospital. Walter Duncan with the Nashville Post reported, “The Intelligent Hospital will replicate the actual environments of a hospital, complete with registration, surgical services, emergency rooms and critical care services – a complete hospital deployment.”
The Med Mart is a win-win opportunity for the City of Nashville and the health care industry. Companies can keep their travel and exhibition costs down while maintaining a product presence in a controlled environment. Preliminary estimates indicate the Med Mart will employ 2,700 people, and an additional 150,000 people a year will come into downtown Nashville as a result of this facility. Talk about a boost to tourism.
In addition, Med Mart will be located in the heart of Nashville’s entertainment district. As I’ve said before, it’s easy to be an advocate of Nashville, and this innovative concept will fit right in with our hopes for a successful future here.
(Renderings courtesy of the Nashville Medical Trade Center)