Screenshot from Jefferson County PVA

Norton Healthcare has nabbed the former Walmart Neighborhood Market property on Poplar Level Road, with an eye toward possibly accommodating growth at Norton Audubon Hospital.

The property, located near Norton Audubon and the George Rogers Clark Park, was acquired recently for more than $4 million by Norton Properties, according to PVA records. Norton Properties holds properties that are used to support the charitable health care purposes of Norton Healthcare.

Wednesday afternoon, Norton Healthcare released a statement confirming the purchase of the property at 3101 Poplar Level Road but without getting specific about the sale or the plans for the property, which ceased being used for a Neighborhood Market last summer.

“Norton Healthcare recently purchased the former Walmart property adjacent to Norton Audubon Hospital,” the statement said. “As Norton Audubon Hospital continues to grow, it is important that we look for opportunities to accommodate that growth to meet the health care needs of our community.”

A short time later, it added that “we are still planning how the property can best be used to meet the needs of the community.”

This screenshot from Map It! shows the location of the former Walmart Neighborhood Market at 3101 Poplar Level Road. A blue pin marks the site recently acquired by Norton Properties.

Norton Audubon is in the middle of a $125 million construction and renovation project that began in 2016 and is expected to be completed in 2020. A new tower, featuring 74 additional private patient rooms for intensive care, open heart and progressive cardiac care, opened last spring.

The old Neighborhood Market was owned by the Wal-Mart Real Estate Business Trust, which entered into a special warranty deed with Norton Properties that includes various conditions and restrictions, including that the property won’t be used for a grocery store or wholesale club, a gaming facility or an adult establishment.

The defunct grocery, which opened in 2007, is one of three stores that Walmart closed last August after reviewing different locations’ performances and expressing a desire to invest in time-saving technology and services, such as online shopping, to better serve customers.

Shortly before the closing, Metro Councilman Pat Mulvihill (D-10) expressed disappointment about the grocery leaving and indicated that he would be monitoring for future development. He said Thursday that Norton acquiring the property seems appropriate, given that the hospital is nearby, and might help restaurants in the area.

This story has been updated with a comment from Pat Mulvihill.