Nashville Medical Trade Center a no-go

By Bernie Monegain
04:15 PM

Blaming a “sluggish economy,” the developers of what was envisioned as a gleaming Medical Trade Center in the midst of a growing healthcare market, abandoned the project Thursday.

Among the tenants would have been the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS), which signed on in April 2010 to take an anchor spot.

Bill Winsor, president and CEO of Market Center Management Company, said the decision to end what he called a “bold” project was difficult, yet necessary because the company was unable to meet its internal leasing targets.

“As we said from the beginning,” Winsor said in a statement released Thursday, "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.”

HIMSS planned to use its Nashville space on the top floor of the trade center as home for the HIMSS Interoperability Showcase, a popular feature on the show floor of HIMSS annual conference.

"It's a great opportunity for us to take something we can do only once a year, and do it year-round," H. Stephen Lieber, president and CEO of HIMSS, said at the time. "The concept here is that it gives us the ability to reach an audience we wouldn't ordinarily reach."

As Lieber envisioned it, the new showcase in Nashville would augment the successful annual HIMSS Conference and Exhibition.

HIMSS was also perceived by the developers as a magnet tenant, drawing others because of its stature in the industry.

The 1.5 million square trade center was to feature three components: more than 600 permanent showrooms for healthcare product manufacturers, distributors and information technology companies; more than 150,000 square feet of temporary trade show space; and state-of-the-art conference facilities to accommodate a full annual calendar of trade events, education and training.

As recently as May 2012, the developers announced new tenants Informatics Corporation of America (ICA), The SSI Group (SSI), V Alexander, Remind America, Humanscale and ergoCentric.

"We continue work with the first major exhibitor in the trade center, the Health Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS), to advance our shared vision of a year-round marketplace of ideas, education and innovation. HIMSS has served as a catalyst for attracting a number of important companies to the project," said Cindy Morris, chief operating officer of Market Center Management Company, in the May announcement.