The purchase of the old Four Seasons Cinema property by commercial real estate brokers fueled speculation that Park Ridge Health is about to announce a medical-related development on the site.
Winston W. "Rusty" Pulliam Jr., a prominent Asheville developer, and Jeffrey C. Justus, a broker with Southern Commercial in Hendersonville, bought the 3.25-acre site two weeks ago from McGarry Investments Inc. and Emery Boyd and Christopher Bettis and Mary Helen Boyd Zimmerman and John Zimmerman for $1.3 million, according to documents filed with the Henderson County Register of Deeds.
"Odds are we are going to tear the building down and I think good things are coming on that site but I'd rather not say which direction we're heading in right now," Justus said on Tuesday.
Other property owners and commercial developers familiar with the purchase said they had heard that Justus and Pulliam have agreed to sell the property to Fletcher-based Park Ridge Health.
Responding to a request from the Hendersonville Lightning for an interview on Park Ridge's potential interest in the property, the hospital said sent an email that promised "exciting things to come" without confirming plans for the old movie theater property.
"Park Ridge Health continues to expand services to meet the demands of patients in the region," the hospital said in a statement. "Our growth has been unprecedented as both physicians and patients continue to choose Park Ridge Health. We have invested over $40 million in expanding the healthcare infrastructure in Henderson and Buncombe Counties over the past five years. We will continue to expand and meet the needs of our community and look forward to adding more jobs to our local economy. Exciting things are to come."
Dwayne Durham, out-patient physical therapy manager for the Park Ridge-owned Southeastern Sports Medicine, said he knew nothing yet about a potential move.
"We haven't finalized anything yet," he said. "As of right now, nothing is being done. We're obviously looking because of the constraints (in space) and the growth of our business. I'll know when they tell me to pack the boxes."
The Four Seasons Cinema property at 1300 Seventh Avenue East is valued on the tax roll at $1.8 million — $1.059 million for the land and $743,000 for the movie theater.
A Park Ridge medical complex on Hendersonville's busiest gateway would escalate the high-stakes battle among hospitals fighting for market share in Hendersonville and the Fletcher-Arden area.
Pardee and Mission hospitals jointly opened a new medical facility, urgent care clinic and pharmacy on the county line in Fletcher last year. Pardee joined Wingate University and BRCC in an agreement for a new building on the Pardee campus in which the hospital may lease up to 25,000 square feet of space. The Pardee Hospital Board of Directors and its executive committee were schedule to meet in closed sessions on Wednesday to discuss options for space in the new building. Park Ridge, meanwhile, is building a four-story 25,000-square-foot medical center on Long Shoals Road at I-26. Scheduled to open this year, the facility features balconies on the top two floors offering views of the Blue Ridge Mountains.