Tennessee officials say they have struck a deal with a Dallas company to build a medical products showcase in Nashville that would rival Cleveland's Medical Mart project.
The announcement signals that the race is on to get the first medical mart in the country up and running. Ideastream's Bill Rice reports
The deal announced by Tennessee Governor Gov. Phil Bredesen would locate what backers are calling a "Medical Trade center" atop Nashville's existing underground convention facility. The plan, according to Nashville's city newspaper The Tennessean, calls for a twelve-story building that would provide 2 million square feet of showroom space - far more than the space planned for the Cleveland facility.
New York City is also reportedly vying to build a medical products showcase.
Cuyahoga County Administrator Jim McCafferty says the Nashville announcement is not a surprise, although its timing was not known. Nevertheless, McCafferty says, it puts new pressure on the principle players in Cleveland - the county, the city, and Chicago private developer MMPI - to select a site and get their project moving.
McCafferty: "Other people are interested in this concept. They see that it has great potential and they would like to do it instead of us. So I think we need to pay heed of this."
McCafferty believes what county and MMPI officials have long held - that financing for both the Nashville and New York proposals is far from secured, and that Cleveland has taken a financing lead with a 20 year county sales tax dedicated to the project already in place, and nearly 80 million dollars already collected and in the bank. Still, the project has stalled over problems with incorporating Cleveland's Public Hall into a new convention center and medical mart. That plan has now been scuttled, and city, county and MMPI officials are still trying to hammer out a new deal.
Bill Rice, 90.3.