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NGHS proposing $80 million rehab center at this Limestone Parkway site
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The former J&J supermarket on Limestone Parkway is surrounded by construction fencing Friday, Nov. 4, 2022. The Northeast Georgia Health System is planning an $80 million rehab center at the site. - photo by Scott Rogers

A former grocery store site could be the future home of Northeast Georgia Health System’s latest venture — an $80 million, 40-bed rehabilitation center.

The 61,500-square-foot facility would be on 8 acres at 2500 Limestone Parkway, where J & J Foods had operated a grocery store between 2005 and 2018, when it closed The Market on Limestone.

The health system “has seen the need for inpatient rehab services grow in recent years,” said Kevin Gohman, director of inpatient rehabilitation.

As for more details about the building, “we are still very early in the design process and do not yet have details to share,” he said.

A “letter of intent” for the facility was filed Oct. 31 with the Georgia Department of Community Health by Northeast Georgia Rehabilitation Hospital, with Northeast Georgia Health System and KND IRF Development 62 LLC listed as the parent companies.

NGHS is currently leasing the space from J & J Foods, which owns the property, “for design work in support of the new Gainesville tower through all of 2023,” Gohman said.

Earlier this year, the health system began work on a 12-story patient tower at Northeast Georgia Medical Center Gainesville at 743 Spring St., or 3 miles from the proposed rehab center.

NGHS expects to submit a “certificate of need” with the state on Nov. 30, Gohman said.

That filing is a formal justification for the project.

The state has 120 days to review the request and make a decision, Gohman said.

“Sometime in 2024 – depending on the CON process – we plan to prepare the property for the new facility by removing the existing building,” he said.

For the moment, “we are still leasing the property,” Gohman added, “but have negotiated a contract to purchase that is dependent on the approval of the CON. We have not yet purchased the property.”