The purchase of the former Northwest Georgia Regional Hospital property was delayed when access to the complex wasn’t included in the original land survey.
However, it appears the issue concerning ingress and egress at the site on Charlton Street has been rectified and the purchase of the property is moving forward.
On Dec. 9, the State Properties Commission approved adding that portion of Charlton Street, approximately 1.5 acres, to the Rome-Floyd County Development Authority’s purchase for $10. As part of that agreement, the authority would ensure access to the Rome Youth Development Center and Rome Adult Probation Division on Marable Way.
A survey of the boundaries of the property being purchased was completed this week, RFCDA President Missy Kendrick said. Once the paperwork is filed and submitted to the state they’ll be able to close on the property.
The authority’s board of directors approved the purchase of the Northwest Georgia Regional Hospital property during its September meeting.
The 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.
The former state-run mental hospital site, closed down in 2011, covers over 130 acres of land and several buildings.
Once the closing on that property is finalized, the real work begins.
“Then we will begin getting into the process of cleaning it up,” Kendrick said.
There’s an amount of asbestos mitigation in that process, which also takes time. Once that work is done and approved, then demolition can begin — a process that likely won’t begin until late 2022 or early 2023.
One of the most attractive things about the site is that it is an intact complex with all of the utilities in place.
“Rome and Floyd County will continue to work together to provide a Class A GRAD-certified site to present to prospects,” RFCDA Chair Jimmy Byars said earlier.
The Georgia Ready for Accelerated Development certification tells investors the site is ready for fast-track construction projects.
The hospital was one of the state-run mental health facilities. It was closed as part of a settlement agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice regarding treatment of patients in the state’s seven psychiatric hospitals. The closure left 700 employees without jobs and 2,000 patients without medical care.
There have been numerous offers, counter offers, plans and ideas proposed for the property since 2011, but the primary obstacle to a deal has always been the millions in debt owed on bonds the state issued to improve the hospital’s facilities before the decision to shut it down.
Apart from economic development for Rome and Floyd County, the state’s sale of the property will also free up approximately $3 million a year it is spending on bond payments and upkeep fees. Those fees came out of the Georgia Department of Behavioral Health and Development Disabilities budget.
Warehouse space is located on the property and will be available for lease, Kendrick said. The chapel will be preserved and used as office space, and plans are to retain one of the buildings as a possible childcare facility for prospective industry employees.
The sale of another large piece of property obtained by the development authority in recent months for prospective industrial sites closed recently.
A joint purchase, using SPLOST funds, of farmland surrounding Bass Ferry Road along U.S. 411 was announced in early August.
Floyd County, Rome and the development authority closed on 202.34 acres of land at $20,000 per acre from the Braden family this week. The total purchase price of $4,196,800 includes payment for a structure on the property.