Northeast Georgia Health System has signed a contract to purchase Sherwood Plaza, a longtime shopping center on South Enota Drive in Gainesville.
A closing date is expected by late summer or early fall, though plans aren’t final for the property, which is near Northeast Georgia Medical Center off Spring Street.
However, the plaza could be used for outpatient services.
“We are continually looking for innovative ways to provide outpatient services in a more convenient access point away from our inpatient campus, and to move support departments out of our inpatient campus to make room for much needed clinical space,” NGHS spokeswoman Melissa Tymchuk said in an email Thursday. “Pending a successful due diligence, we believe this property may provide a good solution to meet one or both of these goals and/or its highest and best use may be something altogether different.”
The property involved is just the shopping center, not “any additional buildings located in this vicinity,” Tymchuk said.
Tenants began getting word about the purchase three weeks ago.
“There are still leases that are in place, and the hospital has indicated that they want to make sure that they work with us and that it’s a transition that looks good for them and for us,” Hudson Wilson, owner of Loco’s Grill & Pub, said Thursday.
The restaurant will mark its 20th year in Sherwood Plaza in October. Wilson said he has options to extend left in his lease and wants to “find a mutual, win-win situation” for the longtime pub and the hospital system.
He said he’s not been pressured to close up shop or quickly find another location.
Meanwhile, news swirling around Sherwood Plaza led Royale Nails owner Lang Nguyen to purchase the vacant Regions Bank near his shop in the plaza. Nguyen is still open for business in Sherwood, and the store has operated in the area for 19 years.
He closes on the new location in early July and hopes to move in four months later, and he’s less satisfied with how the sale of Sherwood Plaza has been handled.
“I don’t think it’s fair to us. I put a ton of money to get all of this work done,” Nguyen said, gesturing to the lighting, glass waterfalls and other improvements made to his space, “and then now I get kicked out.”
He had a meeting with the current owner of the building, Atlanta-based Selig Enterprises, in December.
“He offered to buy me out, and then the offer that he gave to me was too little. I didn’t take it, so I say, ‘Let me talk to my wife,’ and I get back to him. I talk to my wife and I give him a different number, and he never speaks to me again,” Nguyen said. “He told me if he is the one that knocks this down and puts something up, it would take place in June or July this year, and then if he sells it to Northeast Georgia Medical Center it might take a little bit longer.”
There already had been some buzz among tenants that was something was afoot at the shopping center, which had been anchored by Food Lion before it closed in September.
“We were told they were going to repurpose the property,” she said.
Selig Enterprises developed and leases space at Sherwood Plaza. Earlier messages to Bill Stogner, listed on Selig’s website as the leasing information contact for Sherwood Plaza, were not returned.
“We were interested in this property once we became aware that it was for sale, because of its proximity to our Gainesville campus,” Tymchuk said.
Moving forward, “we know that we want to maximize this property in a way that best meets the community’s health and wellness needs, aligning with our mission to improve the health of the community in all we do,” she said.
“We know a thoughtful and intentional planning process will take at least a year, which relieves any immediate pressure from the current tenants,” Tymchuk said. “During the due diligence period, we are working through lease terms with the tenants, through our appropriate agents, in an effort to produce a smooth transition and successful outcome for all.”