A former bank branch on Shorter Avenue is demolished

A sign heralding a new Dunkin’ Donuts franchise greets drivers along Shorter Avenue as a crew demolishes a former bank building Wednesday at the intersection of Alma Road.

The past year was scattered, smothered and covered with new growth and the prospect of growth to come. From major hospital deals to expanded opportunities by way of available land, Rome and Floyd County saw lots of changes in 2021.

The biggest two business stories for the year centered around the acquisition of Floyd Health System, the former parent company of Floyd Medical Center, and Redmond Regional Medical Center.

AdventHealth Redmond

New signage for AdventHealth Redmond is up at the hospital on Redmond Road in Rome following the $635 million sale from Nashville-based HCA to Florida-based AdventHealth.

Those sales each came with a price tag of over $600 million and will change the face of local healthcare for many years to come. While the available service that patients in Northwest Georgia receives remains unchanged, the acquisitions appear poised to pump more capital into each of the already supercharged hospitals.

Evidence already can be seen in the form of an updated emergency department at Atrium’s Floyd Medical Center, complete with a raised helipad above Second Avenue. As AdventHealth Redmond settles in, we’re expecting more news through 2022.

Floyd Medical Center helipad

This exterior rendering shows what the Floyd Medical Center helipad will look like from Second Avenue.

Property acquisitions and groundbreakings in northern Floyd County also ranked up there with the biggest headlines on the business page.

North Floyd County

The Hillman Group broke ground in December on its more than 400,000-square-foot distribution facility off Ga. 53 next to the Balta Home facility. That building will allow the company to put all its operations in one place and is expected to be finished by the end of 2022.

Breaking ground: Works begins on Hillman Group's massive distribution building

Representatives with the Hillman Group took part in the ceremonial groundbreaking for a massive distribution building on the old Florida Tile property.

Just down the road, Plymouth Industrial REIT will build a 236,600-square-foot industrial spec building at 6785 Calhoun Highway.

For months, the Rome-Floyd County Development Authority sought a developer to invest in a speculative building, ready for occupancy. Authority President Missy Kendrick said most prospects are looking for an existing building to move into and this would fill that need for Floyd County.

Also in that portion of the county, Ball Corp. purchased approximately 109 acres at the intersection of Ga. 53 and 140 for a mammoth regional distribution center.

The plan is to build a 750,000-square-foot warehouse and distribution center on the property, located less than 5 miles from its recyclable aluminum cup factory.

Eastern Floyd County

With much of the growth invariably headed east toward the I-75 corridor, Floyd County also announced an investment in 202 acres of property along U.S. 411 at Bass Ferry Road.

The purchase price of $4,196,800 will include payment for a structure on the property and was funded by the 2013 and 2017 SPLOSTs.

County betting Braden Farm can grow jobs instead of soybeans or corn

A look westward from Bass Ferry Road across a portion of the Braden Farm tract purchased for a new industrial site off Cartersville Highway.

The deal on that property closed in December. It adds a significant amount of land, with close access to Cartersville Highway, to the county’s list of holdings that are marketable to industrial prospects.

The first priority for that project will be running water and sewer lines to the property, which won’t be cheap.

Rome City Manager Sammy Rich said in August that the city has water lines out to Hillindale Drive and estimated the cost of extending water out to the Braden Farm tract would be between $2 million and $2.5 million.

Sewer lines alongside U.S. 411 stop at the bypass and extending that line may have to wait on an end user, Rich said. The size of the line and capacity of pump stations can vary based on the amount of sewage that will be generated. Rome Water and Sewer Division Director Mike Hackett estimated the cost of the sewer line could be as much as $3.75 million.

Centrally located

A rich centrally-located site has laid fallow for over a decade. That’ll change in 2022.

The most attractive things about the former Northwest Georgia Regional Hospital site are that it is an intact complex with all of the utilities in place and has rail access.

Expect to start seeing some movement, at least mitigation and demolition, on the site during 2022 or early 2023.

NWGA Regional Hospital property

This screenshot of a development plan presented to the city shows the location of the 132-acre property that once housed Northwest Georgia Regional Hospital.

The former state-run mental hospital site, closed down in 2011, covers over 130 acres of land and includes a multitude of old brick buildings. A few of those buildings will remain on the site, including a chapel on Beaumont Street.

The Rome-Floyd County Development Authority authorized the use of $2.25 million in funds approved by voters in the 2013 and 2017 SPLOST packages for the purpose of procuring additional industrial property or improving existing properties.

Once the purchase of the property is finalized, likely in the early part of 2022, the process of cleaning it up will begin.

That’s not to mention downtown and the plans for the River District off West Third Street — or The Varsity planned for Spider Webb Drive.

West Rome’s growing corridor

In the 1980s and ’90s West Rome as a whole was booming. That seemed to dry up after the turn of the century, but lately the tide appears to be turning yet again.

Among the businesses that opened in 2021 are a Starbucks on Shorter Avenue across from West End Elementary as well as a Big Dan’s Car Wash across from the Parks and Recreation Department office.

They join a new Raceway, Specs for Less, Easy Auto and U-Haul along Shorter Avenue.

Things we expect to see in 2022:

Elder’s Ace Hardware is headed toward the former IGA location at Division Street, although there are no immediate signs of activity on that project yet.

Dunkin’ Donuts signs are already up at the site of a former Regions Bank demolished this past week. A Pizza Hut location is also already visible.

In addition to that, the city commission recently backed a rezoning application at 5 Shorter Ave. and 7 Shorter Ave., which used to house the American Legion building. The plans are to convert the lots into a quick-service drive-thru coffee shop, called Scooter’s, as well as a Take 5 oil change station.

East Bend Shopping Center construction

This aerial view shows the East Bend shopping center under construction in February 2020 at Turner McCall Boulevard and Hicks Drive.

East (Rome) Bend

You can’t talk about changes to Rome during 2021 without talking about East Bend shopping center off Turner McCall Boulevard and Hicks Drive.

The final anchor tenants, Kohl’s and Old Navy, opened at the last part of the year, joining numerous other stores already on the site.

Five Below, Jersey Mike’s Subs, Eggs Up Grill, USA Nail Bar, Discount Tire, Chipotle, Texas Roadhouse and Fazoli’s restaurant, among other smaller stores, all opened in 2021.


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