This retail site near Flowery Branch's Exit 12 may now have different use

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Aug. 5—A 5.6-acre Flowery Branch tract once viewed as a prime spot for retail and restaurants may now be used for health care.

Northeast Georgia Health System has bought the land at 5678 Phil Niekro Blvd., across from Thurmon Tanner Parkway and near Interstate 985 at Exit 12, for $4 million, according to the health system.

"The property location was attractive and will allow us to continue to grow services to meet the needs of our community, but we do not have definite plans for that property yet," said Tracy Vardeman, chief strategy officer for Northeast Georgia Health System.

The health system's Northeast Georgia Physicians Group has an office at nearby 4919 Atlanta Highway.

The 5.6 acres also are in front of Gibson Flowery Branch apartments. When the site for the apartments was rezoned in 2018, the 5.6 acres was kept for potential restaurant/retail sites and is currently zoned highway business.

City planner Rich Atkinson said this week that no new applications for the property, such as for rezoning, have been filed.

The area west of I-985 at Exit 12 was once considered a rich spot for commercial development but has quickly seen other uses take over, including warehouses that are now being built on Thurmon Tanner near Phil Niekro.

As part of the warehouse project, tracts facing Phil Niekro Boulevard between I-985 and Thurmon Tanner Parkway will remain available for future retail.