Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed opened a 10,000-square-foot wellness center for city of Atlanta employees on Wednesday. 
Photo: LEON STAFFORD/AJC
Photo: LEON STAFFORD/AJC

Former downtown Kroger now a wellness center for Atlanta employees

Mayor Kasim Reed on Wednesday cut the ribbon on a 12,000-square-foot wellness center for City of Atlanta employees in space that used to house a downtown Kroger.

The $3 million facility is part of Reed’s “A Healthier You” initiative to help city employees and their families reach personal health goals and to promote a healthier workforce.

“You all work really hard and you all deliver amazing results for the people of Atlanta,” Reed told a crowd of city employees at the ribbon cutting. “ And when we do something for you, I want it to be the absolute very best.” 

The city said the facility was funded by using “insurance reserve funds generated through contracts with insurance vendors, pharmacy rebates and performance guarantees.” No money from the general fund was used, Reed said. 

City employees can use the facility, located at 235 Central Avenue across from Atlanta City Hall, for free. 

Kroger closed the downtown Atlanta location on May 14, 2005, according to company spokesman Felix Turner. The city’s core has not had a grocery store since, though the new owners of Underground Atlanta -- South Carolina-based WRS Real Estate --  have said they are considering one at the downtown attraction. 

Yvonne Cowser Yancy,  Atlanta’s Human Resources Commissioner, said the city insures about 22,000 people -- the third largest public health plan in the state -- and has a healthcare budget of $140 million a year.  

“This has been three-and-a-half years in the making people,” Yancey said. “We are so excited.”

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City leaders have looked at similar programs across the country.

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