Nashville Mayor Karl Dean and HCA CEO Richard Bracken today discussed details of a property swap deal that will result in a new $28.5 million public health center and campus expansion room for the hospital giant.
Under the agreement, HCA will finance and supervise the construction of a new 104,000-square-foot public health facility to replace Metro’s outdated Lentz Health Center. When the development is complete, HCA will turn over the new building and its 3.5-acre parcel of land to the city in exchange for the Lentz Center property, which is located adjacent to HCA’s Centennial Medical Center.
Mayor Dean called the agreement an “absolute win-win” for the city and HCA. “The citizens of Nashville will be getting a better, more accessible public health facility, and HCA will have the opportunity to expand the campus of centennial Medical Center,” he said.
A similar deal had been discussed two years ago, but it fell apart because it involved a third-party developer and became to cost prohibitive, said Metro Finance Director Richard Riebeling.
The new health center, which will be LEED-certified, will be located on a now-undeveloped plot of land HCA owns on the north side of Charlotte Avenue between 25th and 26th avenues. The location is more accessible to the public than Lentz’s 23rd Avenue North location, and its proximity to the new 28th Avenue Connector — which will link North Nashville with the area near HCA’s Centennial Park campus — will help revitalize the Charlotte Avenue area, Dean said.
Because initial appraisals value the Lentz property higher than the HCA plot, Metro will reimburse HCA for the total cost of construction and architectural services, minus the difference in property appraisals. Metro also will pay HCA 3 percent interest on the cost of construction and a $50,000 fee to cover financing costs.
In total, the project’s cost to taxpayers is not to exceed $28.5 million. If Metro were to renovate the Lentz building — which is not ADA-compliant and needs upgrades to its plumbing and other systems — it would cost $22 million.
HCA’s Bracken said HCA will demolish the Lentz building “as soon as possible,” after the land swap is complete. He said the company has no immediate plans to develop the property and will probably initially use it for parking.
Through the agreement, Metro is giving HCA a tax abatement on 100 percent of the Lentz property for the first five years and 50 percent of property taxes for the following five years. If HCA decides to develop the rest of the 11.2-acre property that will include the new development, it must provide Metro with five parking spaces for each 1,000 square feet of the new health center.
Metro Council must sign off on the agreement before it becomes final. An ordinance will be filed with the body in the near future, Dean said.