by Kyle Swenson
Update IV: All those whispers we've been hearing for the last eight months that the Nashville Med Mart project was done, all met with responses from down south that we were crazy and the Nashville project would forge on, collect tenants, and become an actual thing?
One of us was right.
The Nashville Med Mart today announced it's halting its plans.
“Ending a development venture with such clear benefits for the health care industry has become a difficult decision but ultimately we were unable to meet our internal leasing targets,” said Market Center president and CEO Bill Winsor in a prepared statement.— Grzegorek
“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,” Mr. Winsor said.
Update III: For all the death knells signaled for the Nashville Med Mart, the project down south is still alive for now, kind of like John C. Reilly sitting in an open grave brushing off the dirt being shoveled by Will Ferrell.
The group running the Nashville project announced last Friday that six new tenants had signed leases. They had previously said they'd need 60% of the space leased before final financing would be complete. After the six new tenants, the number's at 45%.
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.
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.
The Cleveland Med Mart is on target to open in August 2013. Nashville is aiming for 2014. The over/under on when both will close and be converted to greenhouses or indoor skateparks: September 2017. — Grzegorek
Update II: More groundswell, unconfirmed for now, that the whole Nashville Med Mart project is nothing more than a Tupac hologram.
The chief of one of the Nashville area’s largest commercial real estate firms proclaimed the project “dead in the water” when he was speaking as a panelist at a local real estate forum, the Nashville Business Journal reported.
“There’s nothing going on,” said Doug Brandon of Cassidy Turley. “I’ve talked to a lot of people in Dallas that have been very involved in it and there is no activity from the investor side over there right now as far as moving that project forward that I know of.”
Dallas-based Market Center Management is the property developer behind the Nashville Medical Trade Center.
Folks at the Nashville Med Mart responded by saying that everything is hunky dory and they are totally not a hologram. — Grzegorek
Update: Yesterday, we told you the Nashville mart's developer — Market Center Management Company — denied the rumors about the city's project was on ice. To make that official, here's a statement to Scene from the company's VP of Communications and Business Development, Cole Daugherty:
We are full steam ahead and capitalizing on our momentum. Today, the Nashville project is 40% leased or in final lease negotiations. From the very beginning we have worked on first securing signed leases and long-term commitments, which is a difference between the two trade center projects. We are pleased with our progress to date, and we will be making additional leasing announcements in the coming weeks.
When local leaders first dropped their plans for a Medical Mart in our civic lap, the grand project was billed as a thrilling arms race: Cleveland would compete against two worthy adversaries — New York City and Nashville — for bragging rights as the country’s first permanent medical showroom complex. Now, almost four years later, it looks like the last of our competition could be circling the drain.
According to sources on the ground, med mart boosters down south are whispering that the Nashville project, already pushed back once over funding delays, is about to limp off to boondoggle heaven, even though developers say everything’s still kosher.
New York’s med mart, meanwhile, has already been taken out behind the barn and shot.
But is the thinning herd evidence of Cleveland’s impending Med Mart supremacy, or perhaps assurance that we’ve won the booby prize?
The Nashville rumors are news to Jeffrey Appelbaum, an attorney hired by Cuyahoga County to oversee the project here.
“It goes to show you the value of the signed leases,” he says of Nashville. “We were constantly beat-up here because they were supposedly farther ahead because they had signed leases. Obviously, the signed lease is pretty meaningless without the go-ahead on the overall project.”
If Nashville has pulled up lame, that city’s tenants could become fair game for Cleveland, which thus far has taken a decidedly modest approach to lining up actual paying tenants for the $465 million play house you’re paying for. Technically, they haven’t mentioned any.
“I don’t know that anyone ever felt constrained from looking at some of the [Nashville] tenants anyway,” adds Appelbaum. He has no idea whether Cleveland’s developer, MMPI, has been in contact with the six companies locked into Nashville contracts, and MMPI did not return e-mails for this story.