July 20, 2007

100 Oaks agreement paves way for campus expansion

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The agreement to lease a portion of 100 Oaks Mall will increase VUMC’s size by almost 440,000 square feet. (photo by Dana Johnson)

100 Oaks agreement paves way for campus expansion

VUMC signed an agreement Monday to lease more than half of 100 Oaks Mall in order to transform it into another campus of the Medical Center.

The deal, which was announced as a goal by Harry Jacobson, M.D., vice chancellor for Health Affairs at his State of the Medical Center address in March, and has been much discussed since, will expand the Medical Center's size by almost 440,000 square feet.

Some outpatient clinics and offices will move to the second and third floors of the mall, as well as to an adjacent office tower.

Officials expect some VUMC staff and faculty to be going to work at the 100 Oaks location by next summer.

C. Wright Pinson, M.D., M.B.A., associate vice chancellor for Clinical Affairs, who currently directs business development and acquisitions as well as outpatient clinical operations, gave several reasons for the bold move:

• To relieve congestion on the VUMC main campus;

• To preserve space on campus for hospital and laboratory research programs;

• To allow outpatient clinical expansion, emphasizing health and wellness, at a lower cost than expanding on the main campus;

• To take advantage of the abundance of parking at the mall, creating convenience for both patients and staff;

• To take VUMC services into the community in a well known and easily accessible location off Interstate 65.

“We are very enthusiastic and confident this will allow us to serve our community and the surrounding region more effectively,” Pinson said. “One Hundred Oaks will be our largest clinic away from our 21st Avenue location; large enough that it will be considered a second major campus for the Medical Center.”

Fred DeWeese, vice president for Facilities Planning, said that the 100 Oaks project — which is planned to contain not only offices and outpatient facilities but also amenities such as a fitness center and a child care center for staff and faculty — will transform the aging mall.

“That mall will be completely transformed architecturally,” he said. “This is the biggest thing, from a facilities standpoint, since Vanderbilt built the hospital [in 1980].”

A shuttle bus service is also planned between the two campuses to serve faculty and staff with responsibilities in both locations.

Discussions and planning are under way to determine which clinics, offices and services will be moving.

“This is an exciting new page for our Medical Center,” said David Posch, chief executive officer of The Vanderbilt Clinic and executive director of Vanderbilt Medical Group. “We will be working closely with everyone who may be affected, and we're going to do all we can to minimize the disruption.”

One Hundred Oaks, which opened in 1967, was Nashville's first indoor mall. Its original incarnation had a J.C. Penney, Woolco, Harvey's and Woolworth's, among other retailers. In its history, 100 Oaks has had several cycles of rebirth. Currently it mixes a generally thriving retail strip on its first floor, with Michael's, PetSmart, CompUSA and other national retailers, but almost no retail on its indoor mall hallway. The 57-acre mall land parcel also includes the Regal Hollywood 27 movie theater. All of these businesses are currently unaffected by the VUMC plan.

Current owners of 100 Oaks are Dallas-based developers Frank Mihalopoulos and Tony Ruggeri.