The Jones County Board of Supervisors learned from South Central Regional Medical Center President and CEO Doug Higginbotham Monday morning that South Central Place, located on Highway 15 North near Kroger, may be sold in the near future.
Higginbotham asked the Board for their approval for SCRMC to move forward and enter into a purchase agreement with Map Development LLC of Birmingham, Alabama. According to their website, Map Development LLC is a privately held real estate brokerage firm specializing in retail development, leasing and management of retail shopping centers.
If the purchase is finalized, the deal could be worth over $4.2 million. Based on a question from Beat 3 Supervisor Barry Saul, Higginbotham also shared that the property would be transitioning into private hands, and back on the tax rolls, not to another government agency. The hospital is publicly owned by Jones County and is governed by a Board of Trustees whose members are appointed by the supervisors. If the purchase is finalized, Higginbotham said it will likely be in the spring of 2020 before the exchange is complete.
There are currently 137 employees at the property, which totals about 8.5 acres. Plans are for those employees to move to other SCRMC facilities.
“I have served on this Board since 1984, and the hospital has never been a burden to the taxpayers of Jones County. They have been self-sufficient. You (Higginbotham) have brought us a long ways in terms of credibility,” remarked Board President Jerome Wyatt, who noted how medical centers in many other communities are struggling to survive.
“The people who have served as trustees on the Board (at SCRMC) have been great people,” added Saul.
The supervisors unanimously approved the request by Higginbotham.