Mayor John Cooper and Dr. James E.K. Hildreth, president/CEO of Meharry Medical College, have reached an agreement on a path forward for the buildings that currently house Nashville General Hospital through the end of the current lease agreement, which expires at the end of December 2027. The agreement resolves all outstanding issues and establishes an updated rent structure for the buildings Meharry leases to the city for Nashville General Hospital.
Under the proposed agreement, Metro will pay a fair market rent to Meharry, which has been validated by two independent real-estate evaluation experts, for the use of the Nashville General Hospital buildings starting at $6.3 million this current year, with a 2.5% increase for each consecutive year. Previously, the city was paying only the underlying bonds issued in 1995 and which were set to expire the next year. The agreement also settles all outstanding claims between the two parties. This agreement will not affect the city’s funding of Nashville General Hospital, or the possibility for a new hospital building in the future after the expiration of the current lease.
The agreement includes the resolution of receivables and other financial issues between the city and Meharry, which first began leasing the buildings on its campus for use as the city’s safety net hospital in the mid-1990s. The settlement and lease agreement requires approval by the Metro Council.
“I am proud to renew Nashville’s firm commitment to the nation’s oldest and largest historically Black medical institution and to our safety net hospital Nashville General,” said Mayor John Cooper. “Meharry and Nashville General are at the center of our efforts to address health disparities in Nashville, and this new agreement sets the stage for that work to grow stronger in 2023. There is no better example of those efforts than Dr. Hildreth and Meharry’s essential partnership with the city to help lead our response to the pandemic. I’m looking forward to strengthening that partnership and moving forward together toward a more equitable future.”
The 415,000-square-foot property located on Albion Street was originally built to house Meharry’s Hubbard Hospital. In the 1990s, the city negotiated a lease agreement with Meharry to relocate its safety net hospital from its location on Hermitage Avenue. Following the renovation, Nashville General Hospital reopened. Meharry physicians and residents have treated patients at the hospital and its clinics for more than two decades.
“This is an important day for Meharry and for our faculty, students, and residents,” said Dr. Hildreth. “The city of Nashville has been our home for 146 years, and we are proud to have played a critical part in caring for the community, especially during the pandemic when we tested, treated, and vaccinated hundreds of thousands of Nashvillians. This agreement demonstrates the commitment of Mayor Cooper and city leaders to Meharry, and we look forward to working together to create a healthier future for Nashville.”