Northwest Georgia Regional Hospital Property purchased for $2.25 million using SPLOST funds for economic development
The Rome Floyd County Development Authority announced Thursday that the state has accepted their offer for the purchase of the Northwest Georgia Regional Hospital property for $2.25 million dollars using SPLOST funds.
“When evaluating property for economic development, this site has been included as a top choice since the beginning, due to the size, location and availability of rail and infrastructure,” said Jimmy Byars, chair of the Rome Floyd County Development Authority. “A study done by the City of Rome and the Rome Floyd County Development Authority considered several development options and concluded that economic development would provide the highest return on investment. Rome and Floyd County will continue to work together to provide a Class A GRAD Certified site to present to prospects. It will not happen overnight, but we are ready to start down this road.”
It’s been over 10 years since state officials confirmed that the sprawling Northwest Georgia Regional Hospital in Rome would be shuttered.
The hospital was one of the state-run mental health facilities at that time. 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 a job and 2,000 patients without medical care.
There have been numerous offers, counter offers, plans and ideas proposed for this property since 2011. One of the most attractive things about the site is that it is an intact 130-acre complex with all of the utilities in place. However, the site also has downfalls. Some of the downfalls include old building still on the site and the potential of costly asbestos mitigation.
The primary obstacle to a deal regarding the property has always been the debt the state still owes on bonds issued to improve the hospital’s facilities before the decision to shut it down.
“I have felt all along that the highest and best use of the property was for job creation,” Rome’s Mayor Craig McDaniel said. “I want to thank Governor Brian Kemp, the State Properties Commission and especially our legislative delegation for their support of our request.”
Most of the buildings will be demolished to make room for new construction. Warehouse space is located on the property and will be available for lease. The chapel located on the property 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 former hospital site includes 132.5 acres of land and contains 195 buildings.
When the hospital was first established, it primarily existed to serve Tuberculosis and mentally ill patients. This announcement marks a historic moment for the Rome and Floyd County community, as it will be an opportunity to transform the abandoned property into an economic growth generator for Rome and Floyd County.
“It was very encouraging to hear the local governments’ united vision for this life-enriching opportunity for citizens in Northwest Georgia,” said Governor Brian Kemp. “The sale of this property to the Rome Floyd County Development Authority will yield tremendous returns for both the state and the community given the potential for job creation and sustained economic investment. We look forward to the day when a quality prospect decides this is the right fit to locate or expand in the Peach State, further adding to our reputation as the number one state for business.”
“This is great news for Rome and Floyd County. We needed to have this large tract and large opportunity in the hands of the Development Authority to guarantee development with the prime emphasis being on job creation,” said Wright Bagby, Chair of the Floyd County Commission. “It is especially gratifying to be part of a community that through the citizen’s SPLOST votes for Economic Development have given us the resources to acquire this property.”