Smyrna Council Approves Rezoning for Emory Healthcare Expansion on South Cobb Drive

Emory Healthcare facility on South Cobb Drive (photo from the City of Smyrna website)Emory Healthcare facility on South Cobb Drive (photo from the City of Smyrna website)

The Smyrna City Council approved rezoning for a greatly expanded Emory Healthcare facility on South Cobb Drive Monday night.

By a 6-0 vote, with Andrea Blustein absent, the council approved plans for a new four-story, 120,000-square-foot Emory hospital at 3903, 3949 and 3969 South Cobb Drive. It will be a major expansion of the existing Emory campus, much of which closed in 2014 after years of financial losses.

Existing buildings on the site span 38,000 and 25,200 square feet. The new medical office building (MOB) would be much closer to South Cobb Drive and more visible to drivers. It would be joined by a new parking deck at the back of the property and interior renovations and utility modifications in the existing buildings.

Site plan from the City of Smyrna website.

Site plan from the City of Smyrna website.

“We are not planning to tear down the existing hospital,” said Mike Mason, vice president of operations for Emory Healthcare “There is a potential of future expansion plans that could occur, but right now there is no commitment to do that. We are just looking at zoning approvals to allow that to happen in the future.”

The plans are being carried out in two phases. Both are contingent on Emory receiving a Certificate of Need (CON) for the hospital, a process which is now working its way through the court system.

The rezoning plans also call for a number of variances on the 12.7-acre site, though Smyrna city staff expressed a willingness to work with Emory in order to make the renovated hospital a reality.

“One thing that I think is important to remember is that we’re going to end up with a structure that is going to be impressive, in my opinion, for that corridor, and will indeed create a presence for the hospital,” said Ken Suddreth, community development director for the City of Smyrna.

The hospital will need to completely shut down for a period of 10 months for the renovations. Mason said Emory hopes to have the facility reopened and fully functional, pending CON approval, by August of 2020.

Mason said Emory hopes to have a final decision on or before June 1, and no later than August.