CenterWell: Healthcare for seniors in the heart of Grove Park.
We’re helping transform a long-neglected property into a vital community resource.
As a successful music attorney in the Atlanta area, Jonathan Leonard has never seen himself as a real estate developer exactly.
But when healthcare company Humana approached him about leasing space for a new CenterWell Senior Primary Care location in the building he owns and occupies for his law office, he found an interesting opportunity in front of him.
“At my current building, it wasn’t really possible to meet what they were looking for, given that my law office was already there,” Jonathan explains. “So I proposed the idea of acquiring the blighted building next door and leasing that to them instead.”
In the historically underserved community of Grove Park on the Westside of Atlanta, the shortage of locally available healthcare options for residents has been a lingering problem. The issue can prove especially challenging for seniors, many of whom lack the means for self-transportation.
Jonathan was acutely aware of the difficulties residents encounter on a daily basis, having grown progressively more involved in Grove Park since relocating his law office at 2050 Donald Lee Hollowell Pkwy. As a board member of the Grove Park Foundation, he realized the CenterWell project could be worthwhile on multiple levels.
“Grove Park is something of a medical desert when it comes to providers in the corridor,” Jonathan describes. “There are a lot of people, particularly seniors and other legacy residents, who have to travel a long way just to receive the care they need. And they may often be taking a bus or a MARTA train to get there.”
With Humana prioritizing the area and struggling to find viable alternatives, they liked Jonathan’s proposal regarding the property next to his. And that’s when the real work began.
“It seemed like a farfetched idea at first,” Jonathan says. “The building hadn’t been occupied in 20 years. It was in rough condition, and Humana wanted to move quickly.
With financing help from Atlantic Capital, Jonathan began the tasks of purchasing the property and cleaning it up. The situation was challenging to say the least.
“The roof was caved in, and the elements were entering,” Jonathan describes. “There was a tree growing through the foundation and exiting through the roof. It was a place for vagrancy and dumping. And that’s not to mention the difficulties we had in negotiating the purchase.”
Additionally, Jonathan discovered hazardous waste contamination in the soil and water from a dry cleaners that had previously occupied the building. He experienced significant delays due to environmental testing and even applied to the EPA’s Brownfields Program to make sure the correct standards for cleanup were reached.
“Some of the things that came up with this project I hadn’t encountered in almost 20 years of doing this,” says Jason Robinson, SVP, Relationship Manager at Atlantic Capital. “But I’ve lived in Atlanta my whole life and have seen some of the challenges Grove Park has faced. I’m proud that we’ve kept working toward solutions.”
After clearing the many hurdles, the end result for Jonathan is finally in sight. With architectural plans submitted to the City of Atlanta for approval and permitting, he is on track for making his target date of May 1st and handing over the property to Humana for construction to begin. The expected opening date for CenterWell is September 1st.
“At times it’s been hard to wrap our heads around this project,” Jonathan says. “But CenterWell is going to play a major role in making it easier for Grove Park residents to see a physician, and that’s a huge benefit in my eyes.”
Atlantic Capital helps individuals like Jonathan Leonard make their communities better places to live. For more information on how Atlantic Capital can fuel your prosperity, contact us today.