WILMINGTON — The address of one of two Novant Health Michael Jordan Family Medical Clinics coming to the basketball legend’s hometown is up in the air after Novant Health rejected a land donation from the City of Wilmington.
Last summer, county chair Julia Olson-Boseman and Wilmington Mayor Bill Saffo hosted a press event on 15th Street, alongside Novant Health’s chief community impact officer Dr. Philip Brown. They convened to share the news that their respective government bodies intended to gift land for the incoming affordable clinics.
The city was slated to grant 2 acres of an 8-acre grassy lot at the request of Novant Health. Located beside the nonprofit DREAMS, the 906 Fanning St. property has been city-owned since 1912 and employed for various uses through the decades, most recently as an operations site for fleet and the public services department.
New Hanover County announced it would transfer 1410 S. 15th St. for the other clinic. That exchange went through, and Novant Health now owns the parcel for what it’s calling the Greenfield Street location.
But it never accepted the city’s donation.
“The city presented land options to Novant to use for the clinic, but they ultimately decided to look for other properties that better fit the vision of the clinic and are looking outside of city owned properties,” Wilmington spokesperson Jennifer Dandron said.
A spokesperson for Novant did reveal that the hospital is undergoing due diligence to purchase land for the second Wilmington location. It will announce that site by the summer.
Follow-up questions for further explanation of why the land was rejected were unanswered as of press.
In February Jordan, who graduated from Laney High School, gave the exclusive to CBS Mornings that he was granting Novant Health $10 million to open the doors to the duo medical clinics in Wilmington. The projects were expected to be completed by early 2022.
Jordan gave $7 million to open similar establishments the year prior in Charlotte. The clinics offer comprehensive primary care and mental health services to uninsured and underinsured patients.
New Hanover County’s donated land was originally purchased for overflow parking at the Health and Human Services headquarters. The county later realized extra space was not needed.
It inserted two conditions into its agreement with Novant for the land exchange: First, Novant would return the parcel if construction failed to start within five years. Secondly, Novant would see if a homeless day center shelter was a possibility at the site. County Manager Chris Coudriet revealed to commissioners last month that a day shelter was deemed unfeasible.
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