The Nashville Medical Trade Center on Friday announced six new tenants for the project, its first such announcement since August. Perhaps more importantly, the property developer behind the project is moving ahead with plans to secure a financing package for the privately funded medical mart.
Property developer Market Center Management Co. said it’s engaged a Nashville-area financial consultant “to advance final plans for the financing package and structure,” according to a statement.
That’s significant because a secure and clear source of financing has been the biggest advantage Nashville’s chief medical mart rival, Cleveland, has held. The Cleveland project is receiving public funding in the form of an increased county sales tax, which means its future has always been more of a sure thing than Nashville’s.
Now, that advantage for the Cleveland project may be melting away, though Cleveland’s medical mart will still open sooner than Nashville’s.
Nashville’s backers have said that they’ll need to obtain signed leases for 60 percent of the mart’s roughly 1 million square feet before they can secure the private funding necessary to begin construction. With today’s tenant announcement, that number stands at about 45 percent, Market Center CEO Bill Winsor told the Nashville Business Journal.
MMPI, the Chicago-based property developer behind the Cleveland project, reacted coolly to the Nashville announcement in an emailed statement. “While we can’t speak for their timetable or leasing strategy, we do monitor the Nashville project — and note that they have stated that they are still working on the leasing and financing before they can start construction,” said Jim Bennett, senior vice president with MMPI.
Bennett went on to say that the Cleveland project is in its 16th month of construction, as well as on budget and on schedule for an August 2013 opening.
Nashville is projecting an opening sometime in 2014, but until the project hits its 60 percent leasing target, that’s far from a certainty; that gives Cleveland a head start of one year, if not two.
Nashville’s six newly announced tenants are: health IT companies Informatics Corporation of America and SSI Group, healthcare furniture makers Humanscale and ergoCentric, and service providers V. Alexander and Remind America.
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