New nonprofit focuses on medical district development

An effort that will bring a unified and organized focus on the city’s medical district has formed.

Leaders of some of the city’s health care and educational institutions have come together to form the Medical District Collaborative, a nonprofit organization that will direct future development of Memphis’ medical district.

The district is roughly bordered by North Parkway to the north, Cleveland Street to the east, Vance Avenue to the south and Danny Thomas Boulevard to the west. It encompasses hospitals, medical technology and innovation entities, centers of higher education and the Victorian Village and Edge districts.

It’s diverse, with a mix of residential, educational and commercial uses. The district employs more than 16,000 people and has more than 8,000 students.

“The district is also responsible for more than $1.2 billion in purchasing and procurement, and we have lots of opportunities to keep those dollars recirculating within the district,” said Tommy Pacello, President of the Medical District Collaborative. “There is good momentum in Midtown and Downtown right now, and the Medical District is the link between the two. The district is one of the region’s largest economic engines, and we’re looking forward to focusing some of that energy toward the redevelopment between the campuses.”

The Medical District Collaborative will focus on four areas: improving the public realm and built environment, coordinating safety and security, activating and programming the district, and facilitating community development.

The Medical District Collaborative will launch a series of programs – Live Local, Buy Local and Hire Local – that are targeted at increasing the number of employees and students living in the district, while growing the local purchasing of goods and services, and connecting community residents to job opportunities.

Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare CEO Gary Shorb is chairman of the collaborative’s board of directors.

Read more articles by Lance Wiedower.

Lance is a veteran journalist with more than 16 years of experience in newsrooms in the Memphis area as a reporter and editor, including most recently as managing editor of The Daily News. He regularly contributes to The Daily News, including a biweekly travel column, The Daily Traveler.