Anticipating expansion, Meridian Healthcare moves to Franklin

Wednesday, September 26, 2007 at 1:09am

A Nashville-based health care company is moving to Williamson County, and doubling its usable office space in the process.

Officials at CHD Meridian Healthcare, which employs 125 at its current operations center in Green Hills, said Tuesday the company plans to lease 50,000 square feet of a still-under-construction building in Franklin. The company currently occupies 30,000 square feet — 26,000 square feet of which is usable — on Burton Hills Boulevard.

Danny Nelms, Nashville-based vice president of human resources for the company, did not delineate a timeline for adding to its local workforce. But he said the move to Williamson County was prompted by a need for more breathing room for employees, and added that the new facility will be large enough to accommodate 200 workers.

“We wanted to move into space where we knew we would have room to grow,” Nelms said.

CHD Meridian’s announcement comes less than one month after Verizon Wireless officials announced that 550 Nashville-based employees are slated to be moved to a new, $54 million Williamson County regional headquarters that will be able to house a total of 1,300 workers.

But David McRae, the Newmark Knight Frank principal who leased the CHD Meridian deal, said he doesn’t consider the company’s move to be part of a trend.

“It’s a natural progression for these things to go where there is land available,” McRae said.

Nelms said company officials did not seek out a Williamson County location. Nelms said the company was out of room in its current location, and could not locate land “in the nearby vicinity” that would allow enough room to grow.

“That included all of Metro Nashville,” Nelms said. “More important than moving to Williamson County is getting quality space… If you’re looking for [the amount of space we were looking for], then you’re just more likely to find that in Williamson County.”

Nelms said he was not in a position to discuss whether or not the company is receiving any tax incentives for the move. A spokesperson for the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development said state law prevents the release of information related to Tennessee-based companies seeking — or not seeking — tax incentives. Williamson County economic development officials were unavailable for comment late in the day Tuesday.

CHD Meridian is a wholly owned subsidiary of publicly traded, Pennsylvania-based company I-Trax Inc. Health Care Solutions. CHD spokesperson Michele Hart-Henry said the company is America’s largest provider of workplace-based health care, an industry she said is growing.

In the last few years, the company has added more than 70 new centers, Nelms said.

Clients of CHD Meridian contract with the company to provide on-site medical practitioners, who are able to provide a customized range of health services to employees. Most of the company’s clients have 1,000 or more employees, Hart-Henry said, and provide self-funded health care plans.

CHD Meridian currently provides services to more than 100 companies in 35 states, operating and managing a total of 231 health care centers delivering services ranging from full primary care to occupational health and pharmacy access. Executive offices for the company are in Chardsworth, Penn.

The Nashville office consists of a range of primarily professional positions that make up the company’s “centralized support operations” for the on-site health facilities, Hart-Henry said, and includes human resources, accounting, purchasing, risk management and IT work.

Nelms said a ZIP code survey prior to the company’s relocation selection indicated that employees reside in areas all over the Metro Nashville area, including Davidson, Williamson, Rutherford and Wilson counties.

The company’s new office is being constructed along Creekstone Boulevard near Franklin, officials said, and is being developed by First Industrial Realty. The finished structure will be part of a multi-use office park, according to McRae.

Nelms said the company has been shopping “diligently” for a location for about a year. Officials had considered sub-leasing the Burton Hills space, but have elected to buy it out instead. The building is expected to be completed next May.

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By: idgaf on 12/31/69 at 7:00

"Nelms said he was not in a position to discuss whether or not the company is receiving any tax incentives for the move. A spokesperson for the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development said state law prevents the release of information related to Tennessee-based companies seeking — or not seeking — tax incentives."*******************************************What kind of crap is this? They can deal behind our backs for our money and we are not allowed to know about it?Not very much sunshine there.

By: anonymous on 12/31/69 at 7:00

Don't be ignorant idgaf, companies don't move purely for incentives. It's much more likely a combination of quality of life factors, for example: that the majority of people who work there live in Williamson County or other outlying counties and don't want to commute in, or perhaps it's the proximity to other nice office space and restaurants where there's not extremely limited parking, or the fact that they want to double their square footage in a new facility. You tell me where all that can happen in Green Hills cost effectively. No incentive deal that Williamson county would be willing to offer would be enough of a reason to move their whole office. You're pretty hard pressed to find that kind of new space in Davidson County, period. Don't get too hung up on the incentives point.

By: idgaf on 12/31/69 at 7:00

All legitimate reasons to move but when Taxpayer money enters the picture then it becomes our business and we should have the oportunity to lobby against it if we think its a bad deal.What they do with their money is their business , when they start giveing away ours it is our business and we should have the oportunity to voice our opinion against (or for) it.Look at the Preds None of us had any idea that it was 13 million a year we were giveing them. Most thought it was the 5 that has been reported. Thats approx $26 dollars for every man,woman and child in Nashville per year on top of the $44 we are giveing to the titians.

By: gdiafante on 12/31/69 at 7:00

Id, quit whining like a baby. All you do is whine day in and day out. Do you have a life? Get away from the computer and go get one. Jeez.

By: capt4chris on 12/31/69 at 7:00

I think Id has a very good point. Issues involving taxpayers money should be public information for the public to respond to. We should all be concerned about that!

By: WickedTribe on 12/31/69 at 7:00

I don't care how the Williamson county taxpayers' money is spent. I don't live there.

By: idgaf on 12/31/69 at 7:00

Us taxpayers have to stick together and its a State Law/rule that effects us all.If the people know and approve thats one thing if they don't its another.