Thousands Of New Jobs Could Be Coming To Nashville - | Nashville News, Weather & Sports

Thousands Of New Jobs Could Be Coming To Nashville


NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Gov. Phil Bredesen announced an agreement to develop a Nashville Medical Trade Center on the site of the city's current convention center.

The governor said at news conference Monday that Dallas-based Market Center Management Co. plans to build a $250 million, 12-story structure on top of the mostly underground convention center. 

Rival medical mart projects are being pursued in Cleveland and New York. Each would create a central place where makers of health care-related products and technology could feature offerings to buyers from the medical industry. 

The global healthcare marketplace could create 2,700 new jobs. The Dallas developer plans to lease space to more than 600 medical equipment companies. 

The space would become available if the Metro Council in the coming weeks votes to approve the construction of a new $585 million convention center. Supporters said that 1.5 million square foot facility would open in 2013. 

Nashville Mayor Karl Dean said the medical mart is a good compliment to the Music City Center, which he thinks the Metro Council will pass in January. 

"We've had 6 or 7 votes when there's been overwhelming support for the idea of a convention center," said Dean. 

Part of the construction plan is to move the wall of the Nashville Convention closest to 5th Avenue and the Ryman Auditorium back 40 feet. That would create a plaza. 

State officials said the project would be financed by private money only. However, there would be some tax breaks when it comes to improving the infrastructure around the building. 

Nashville Priorities, a group of citizens with concerns about the Music City Center released a statement about the proposal.  

"The fundamental problems associated with the proposed Music City Center do not go away with the Medical Mart announcement . . . The project still puts taxpayers at risk, still requires considerable subsidies which will only get bigger without a headquarters hotel, and still offers little marginal economic benefit." 

The medical market would open at the same time the Music City Center opens in 2013. A vote on how to fund the Music City Center is scheduled for January. 

(The Associated Press Contributed To This Story)

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