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New pharmacy benefit firm to expand in Hall
Relocation effort began in 2005
A group crowds around a model of the ProCare Park corporate campus Tuesday during a groundbreaking ceremony in Gainesville. - photo by SARA GUEVARA

Currently covered by a field of overgrown grass, the area between Candler Road and Interstate 985 will soon be the home of a national pharmacy benefit company.

ProCare Rx officially broke ground on its 395,000-square-foot campus that will include a state-of-the-art data center.

Initially the new facility will house 120 of the company's Georgia-based employees and could lead to the creation of many jobs as the company grows, said Chairman and CEO Roger Burgess.

Within the first year of the campus' existence, Burgess said 30-50 jobs could be created and even more after that.

"Over time, the sky is the limit," he said. "We can create hundreds of jobs depending upon two things."

Those factors include Georgia requirements involving interstate commerce of prescription drug orders that Burgess said restricts pharmaceutical operations.

"We're in a growing business and a growing industry, however; there's some restrictive laws in the state of Georgia that have to be changed and if we can bring up our automated mail service and home delivery operation then we can create hundreds of jobs on this site," Burgess said.

While there are no exact dollar projections on the relocation to Hall County, Hall County Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Kit Dunlap expects it to have a positive impact on the county's economic outlook.

"Already the improvement for this gateway is absolutely wonderful with the start of this first building," Dunlap said. "It's just mammoth. And what will lead to that in future jobs is even more of an economic development."

The health care company's relocation effort to the Gainesville-Hall County site began in 2005 when it began looking at consolidating some of its operations.

With the help of the Greater Hall Chamber of Commerce and government, officials chose the old Central Park site as an opportunity to relocate areas of the business.

After identifying the site in 2005, county and city officials worked together to rezone the land to allow commercial use.

"This is a perfect example of the city and the county working together," said Tom Oliver, Hall County Board of Commissioners chairman.

"We got ProCare to commit, we had the land, we zoned the property and then we turned it over to the city," he added.

Plans for the 23-acre site include several office buildings expected to be completed by summer 2012 and possibly future construction of a hotel and other retail establishments.

Following the completion of the site, ProCare will relocate from its Duluth-based corporate headquarters, where it has been based for nearly 10 years.

Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle, a Hall County native, was on-hand for Tuesday's groundbreaking and described the future campus as a "gateway into (Gainesville)."

"The investment in which ProCare is going to make in transforming this site, I think, is going to be remarkable," Cagle said.

With the growth of mail order pharmacies in the last decade, Cagle said ProCare could have a significant impact on the Gainesville-Hall County area.

"They're in a very high growth area in terms of the health care industry as a whole and we're going to see them continue to grow," Cagle said.

"Their investment here indicates their commitment long-term and it's going to mean greater success for them, which will spill over as good success for our community, as well as the state in general," he added.


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