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Emory bid fails but sparks dialogue
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Rockdale’s unsuccessful bid for the new $200 million Emory Healthcare cancer treatment center may have been a long shot, but the county at least put itself on the radar for future projects with Emory Healthcare, according to local officials.

“We made a good presentation and we made a friend,” said Rockdale Development Authority chairman Mike Sullivan. 

Sullivan reported that the meeting of local leaders with Emory Healthcare officials, including CEO John Fox and board member David Allen, went well. The group from Rockdale, consisting of Sullivan, Conyers-Rockdale Economic Development Council Director Glenn Sears, and Development Authority member Roland Vaughn, was supposed to be a 30-minute meeting but the delegation ended up talking with them for nearly an hour. 

“They want to have a presence on this side of Atlanta,” said Sullivan. “We didn’t burn a bridge. I think we opened a big door for us.”

Emory Healthcare recently bought the two physicians networks in Newton County in 2011 — the former Internal Medicine of Newton County and Emory Newton Medical Associates.

Sullivan said they were prepared to offer Emory savings of more than $50 million. “But when your pockets are as deep as theirs,” he said, trailing off. 

He said Emory Healthcare responded about a month later. “They had gone way down that road past where they could turn back,” he said. They had already spent about $800,000 on a certificate of need in the downtown Atlanta area. 

Rockdale had previously campaigned for a $150 million center from the Chicago-based Cancer Treatment Centers of America and was one of the top two finalists before losing out to Coweta County in 2009.