NORTH AUGUSTA — Medical billing company Medac Inc. announced Thursday that it will move headquarters from west Augusta to North Augusta, with construction of a two-story office to begin later this year.
The company, which had offices in Augusta for more than 20 years, had been courted to move into the former Fort Discovery in downtown Augusta. The 550-employee company will spend $12 million to consolidate three locations and add 65 jobs, said co-founder and president Bijon Memar.
Medac does billing for anesthesiology companies and was founded in Augusta in 1992 by Memar and his brother Kam. The company is the second-largest privately held anesthesia billing company in the country, with a presence in 37 states.
“Medac has spent more than 10 years researching locations where we could combine our offices and increase operational and environmental efficiencies,” Memar said.
Locations it considered included business parks, former grocery store buildings, and a site in Lincolnton, Ga., Memar said. The company was attracted to the location because of proximity to Project Jackson, a $144 million riverfront development.
Medac will be moving into a two-story, 60,000-square-foot building at the corner of Center Street and Bluff Avenue. It will be the largest single private-sector employer in the city. Discussions began months ago and Medac signed a lease Friday.
“I’m just flabbergasted at how quickly this deal has come together,” Memar said.
On Monday, the North Augusta City Council authorized City Administrator Todd Glover to negotiate for “Project Slumber,” acknowledged to be the Medac project. The resolution, passed by the council, said the city was asked to provide land and a parking garage to negotiate.
Overall, Medac’s relocation to North Augusta is something for city residents to be excited about, he added.
“It shows that if we do things right, people will come,” Jones said.
Medac was the unnamed company in negotiations to relocate in Fort Discovery at the corner of Reynolds and Seventh streets, Downtown Development Authority of Augusta Executive Director Margaret Woodard confirmed.
“We would have loved to have them there,” she said after the announcement. “But I think if you look at the regional approach, which I think we all agree with, downtown still has a lot to benefit with them being in North Augusta.”
The DDA’s role in the defunct project was to manage operational aspects, said Woodard, with the Mayor’s Office and the Augusta Regional Collaboration handling direct lease negotiations. Woodard said interest is swirling in the 120,000-square-foot riverfront space, marketed through the DDA’s retail strategy.
“Right now we are marketing it to developers that are interested in doing downtown projects, that have had a good track record,” she said. “We brought in three during Masters Week.”
Woodard didn’t elaborate.
Retail Strategies LLC, the Alabama-based retail consultant contracted by the DDA to bring retail downtown, is marketing the property next month at the International Council of Shopping Centers show in Las Vegas, Woodard said. The space in Port Royal’s high-rise building has been vacant since 2010, when Fort Discovery left after 13 years. The site has been stripped for its next tenant.
Medac Inc. began as Medical Bureau Inc., a multispecialty billing company providing services to medical fields, in 1986 by Kam Memar, who died in 1998. He was joined by his brother in 1989.
In 1992, they realized the need for specialization in the anesthesiology sector and Medac Inc. was born with eight employees. Medac’s main location is 804 Scott Nixon Memorial Drive in Augusta. It also has offices on Wheeler Road and near Doctors Hospital.
Staff writer Jenna Martin contributed to this article.