Courtesy of Meharry, Moody Nolan

By William Williams

NASHVILLE, TN — Meharry Medical College officials are eyeing an early-2021 groundbreaking for a mixed-use building.

To be located at 912 21st Ave. N., the primarily five-story building will feature 125 residential units, two classrooms, a fitness center and outdoor terraces. Retail space is a possibility, according to Dr. Peter Millet, Meharry executive vice president. 

The effort to undertake the project comes as Meharry announced in September it has received a $34 million grant from Bloomberg Philanthropies to provide scholarships of up to $100,000 over four years for Black medical students (read more here).

“The concept is that of a living-learning center,” Millet told the Post, adding that many colleges and universities are supplementing the academic experience with non-traditional settings and models.

For the project, the Nashville office of Columbus, Ohio-based Moody Nolan is serving as architect. Baltimore-based Whiting-Turner will be the general contractor, with Nashville-based Pillars Development (Edward Henley) as project manager and land planner. A price tag for the overall project — the building will replace a surface parking lot — has not yet been announced. 

Meharry will ask the Metro Board of Zoning Appeals for variances to allow a building that would offer six stories of no more than 75 feet tall (current zoning allows for five) for the segment of the future building that will address 21st and Morena Street. In addition, the college will request an exception related to the building’s rear setback. A BZA meeting date has not been finalized.

Millet said the building will include 100 to 135 parking spaces and that a June 2022 completion is being targeted.

The Meharry campus offers four residential buildings that house about 290 students in all. The college is home to about 840 students and is billed as  the second-largest educator of African-American medical doctors and dentists in the United States. Of note, Meharry ranks among the nation’s top college for having the highest percentage of African-American students graduating with Ph.D. degrees in the biomedical sciences