Atlanta again extends redevelopment ban of former medical center site

This is the third six-month extension of the development moratorium on the AMC site
The former Wellstar Atlanta Medical Center, Wednesday, August 30, 2023, in Atlanta. This is approximately one year after its impending closure was announced. (Jason Getz /



The former Wellstar Atlanta Medical Center, Wednesday, August 30, 2023, in Atlanta. This is approximately one year after its impending closure was announced. (Jason Getz /

The Atlanta City Council has, for a third time, extended a city-enacted moratorium blocking redevelopment of the former Atlanta Medical Center site in Old Fourth Ward for an additional 180 days.

At Monday’s council meeting, the council voted 11-1, with no discussion, to extend the ban.

The decision comes after Mayor Andre Dickens’ October executive order, which means it will be May 2024, at earliest, before owner Wellstar Health System can do anything new with the 25-acre property that covers more than a city block in the Old Fourth Ward.

With the ban, the city’s planning department must refuse any applications for rezoning, building permits, land disturbances, special administrative permits, subdivisions, or other land changes for 15 parcels of land that were part of the AMC campus. City leaders have said that the moratorium gives leaders and the community more time to address AMC’s sudden closure. It ceased operations at the hospital on Oct. 31, 2022.

Before coming to the full council, the ordinance that extended the ban was approved in the council’s Nov. 13 Zoning Committee. The vote was 3-1 with Councilmember Amir Farokhi, who represents District 2, which lies within parts of the hospital site, voting against. Councilmember Matt Westmoreland, whose Post 2 at-large includes Districts 5-8, was abstained from committee vote. District 5 lies within the former site.

Farokhi voted against the ban at Monday’s full council meeting. Westmoreland was one of three council members who was not present for the vote.

The area where AMC was located has been home to a hospital for a century, initially called Georgia Baptist Hospital before it was acquired by a private company in 1997 and renamed, and then in 2016 sold to Wellstar Health System.

Fulton County’s website lists the total assessed tax value for the former AMC properties at about $118.86 million, however as a not-for-profit health system, Wellstar pays no property taxes on the land.

The former hospital site occupies about 25 acres and includes several zoning designations, including community business district, commercial service district, commercial residential district, the Beltline overlay district and Beltline affordable workforce housing districts.

Ideas about what to do with the site have floated among the council.

Councilmember Keisha Sean Waites introduced a plan calling for the city to turn the 25-acre site owned by Wellstar Health System into a “diversion and crisis center” that provides medical services, along with other services such as mental health, drug and alcohol treatment and short-term emergency housing.

Farokhi has expressed concerns around the property becoming a blight on the community, which he attributed to the end of his support of the ban.

Wellstar Health System declined to provide any new comment to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution regarding Monday’s vote, but provided a previous statement.

“We are committed to a thoughtful process to determine the best use for the future of these sites,” Wellstar said.

“We continue to talk with members of the community and evaluate potential solutions. We do not currently have plans for the sites and we are hopeful for a solution that benefits the community.”

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and Report for America are partnering to add more journalists to cover topics important to our community. Please help us fund this important work at