On Tuesday, April 27, following the Committee Meeting, Commissioners took a tour to see first-hand what’s happening with the several economic development projects. Mayor Lester Miller, Commissioners, county staff, and the media joined the Macon-Bibb County Industrial Authority to an expansion project currently underway and one that is set for the future. The group boarded a couple of vans and made their way to the Middle Georgia Regional Airport.

The first stop was Dean Baldwin Painting, a company building a facility specially designed for painting larger military and commercial aircraft. The facility is a $21 million dollar investment and brings 115 new jobs to Macon-Bibb County.

“We had a chance to show the Commissioners what expansion is going to look like: how we’re going to have planes there, create jobs, and increase revenue for our community,” said Mayor Miller.

The facility is located in District 3, which is represented by Commissioner Elaine Lucas, and it is something she has been looking forward to since Dean Baldwin Painting announced they were coming to Macon-Bibb.

“We are just so thrilled to be able to come out and see the progress being made in Macon-Bibb County,” said Commissioner Lucas. “This says jobs. This says greater prosperity. It says increases in earnings potential for our citizens. It’s just wonderful to be here and see that someone decided to invest in this community.”

Dean Baldwin broke ground in March of 2020 and is nearing completion. Some Commissioners saw the site and progress for the first time ever.

“It’s great for our local officials to get a chance to see for themselves the first new construction at Middle Georgia Regional Airport since the 1980s. This is going to be nearly 200,000 square feet of new hangar space,” said Industrial Authority Executive Director Stephen Adams.

The next stop, after lunch at Dab’s Café in the Airport, was the former Brown and Williamson building. The building has sat vacant for about 15 years, but in March, the building was sold to the Industrial Realty Group (IRG), a Los Angeles investment firm.

IRG’s Vice-President of Sales and Leasing, Darrell Bossert, briefed the Commission on what the group has been working on since the purchase. They’re planning to spend about $2 million to make renovations to parts of the building and make it a multi-tenant facility. Bossert says they are hoping to get a new tenant by the end of the year.

“This overall is going to be an amazing opportunity for growth in the county,” said District 2 Commissioner Paul Bronson.

Before closing in 2006, the Brown and Williamson plant made 130 billion cigarettes a year and employed 3,000 people. During the trip Tuesday, Commissioners were able to tour the building and see the space that will one day be occupied by other companies.

“I’m excited to see the nuance and the hard work that goes into the work being done at the Industrial Authority,” said District 5 Commissioner Seth Clark. “The amount of work it takes to get something like this filled is a daily and constant effort. So it’s really nice to be out of Chambers and see what we’re funding, how it works, and what comes next.”

“I think it’s important to get out into the community to see what’s going on in Macon-Bibb County,” said Mayor Miller.

To see pictures from their trip, click here.