The Union Recorder

March 7, 2014

Bostick closing first major CSH real estate transaction

Kyle Collins
The Union-Recorder

MILLEDGEVILLE — The Central State Hospital Local Redevelopment Authority (CSHLRA) announced the sale of the former Bostick State Prison facility closed Thursday.

CorrectHealth LLP, an Atlanta based correctional health care company, will create a continuing geriatric care facility for a large parolee population not currently served by Georgia prisons tabbed for a late 2015 opening.

This significant sale will result in the first private ownership of any site at the former Central State Hospital, which includes over 200 buildings and approximately 2,150 acres.

The campus' first major real estate transfer to a new industry took it slow, according to CSHLRA Executive Director Mike Couch. He said everyone was “extremely cautious” to do the first transaction right.

“Our job as an authority was to repurpose the facility and get it on the tax rolls. This begins the process,” Couch said.

The State Properties Commission (SPC) completed the deed for execution on Jan. 9, according to Couch. At that time, involved parties realized CSH has to establish a public easement in and out of the Bostick parcel.

The prison sits at the end of Lawrence Road.

Legal counsel established a permanent easement that fit into what the City of Milledgeville described as a road. Otherwise, there was the potential for “a Bostick island.”

“We didn't want to land lock them in for the future,” the CSHLRA executive director said. “They will have guaranteed access to their site. It took a long time to get that done. That's why we stretched the closing another 45 days.”

The Bostick Building, in its current state, had no future market value or potential reuse. Couch said the building condition had a negative effect on the value of the entire site.

“Many times you've got a building that because of time has become a drag on the real estate value,” he said Friday.

The state accepted CorrectHealth's $50,000 bid for the former Bostick State Prison facility last October.

CorrectHealth will demolish the existing building and construct a “state of the art” geriatric care facility valued at over $20 million when completed in late 2015. The new building will have 225 beds, according to the latest estimate.

“I've heard numbers that there are over 700 geriatric parolees that have no place to go,” Couch said. “This will become some place safe for them to spend the rest of their life.”

The facility will hire over 200 permanent staff members offering a tremendous boost to Milledgeville's local economy not to mention construction jobs.

“We are pleased CorrectHealth selected our community for their facility. Their investment in terms of employment, value to our local economy and the county tax digest is tremendous,” Milledgeville Mayor Richard Bentley said Friday. “We welcome this great company and look forward to assisting in the development of their project.”  

With surveys completed and Gov. Nathan Deal's signature, CSHLRA can celebrate.

The SPC and Governor's Office finally understand the CSH redevelopment vision and support the plan.

“Now, we can see proof from our work,” Couch said. “Anybody that's comes to look here understands there is opportunity and potential. Time is our worst enemy. We have to get on top of it now.”

CorrectHealth is physician owned and operated and provides cost-effective, comprehensive high quality health care services to correctional facilities in Georgia, Louisiana and throughout the Southeast.

The company offers healthcare programs to jails, prisons and youth detention centers serving more than 20 correctional facilities of local governments. The entity works closely with the Georgia Jail, Sheriff's and Prison Wardens Associations, according to CorrectHealth's website.

The Georgia Department of Corrections (DOC) closed the 700-bed Bostick State Prison effective May 1, 2010 to save on DOC operational costs.

Bostick is an old 1950's dorm that was converted to a prison in 1987.  

The facility was considered a “non-enduring” infrastructure because it lacks the safety features of other state prisons and required more staff to secure. The prison previously housed medium security inmates, as well as those with special needs.