On Thursday, February 10, the Macon-Bibb County Urban Development Authority – acting on behalf of Macon-Bibb County – approved the selection of TVS, Piedmont Construction Group, Stage Front, and HGOR as the Design/Build Team for the new outdoor amphitheater that will be built at the Macon Mall. Combined, this team brings extensive experience in design/build projects, mixed-use facilities, entertainment venues, auditoriums, and amphitheaters.
“We had some amazing groups come together for this project, and we were blown away by all of their proposals,” says Macon-Bibb County Mayor Lester Miller. “TVS as the architect on this team is what ultimately led to this choice. Their experience and other successful projects are what will help us create a true outdoor concert and event destination in our community and lead to further development and investment.”
“We applaud the determination of Macon’s leadership to visualize a new district focused on this amphitheater, and to champion it to completion,” says TVS Principal Emery Leonard. “A vibrant, bespoke district rooted in Macon’s musical history is a great magnet for activity. We will work the community to design a venue that will play a role in the future of American music by providing a larger platform for the diverse talent that influences our culture today.”
“Our Design/Build Team’s goals are the same as Mayor Miller’s and Macon Bibb County’s: to invigorate the area around the Macon Mall and drive economic development beginning with this new amphitheater.” says G. Scott Thompson, CEO of Piedmont Construction Group.
The new amphitheater will have a 10,000-person capacity with covered and fixed seats, lawn seats, greenspace, artists’ dressing rooms, a green room, ticket booths, vendor and event areas, transitional walkways, specific areas for crews, retail areas, and other amenities. The first step of the Design/Build Team will be to work with Macon-Bibb County, local and state partners, industry representatives, and the community to create a final design.
“We want to provide a top-notch entertainment experience for both people attending shows and the artists. We want people to want to come here for shows and for artists to want to perform here, so we must create a phenomenal experience for everyone involved,” adds Mayor Miller. “This team isn’t just designing a facility; they’re bringing their knowledge and experience of the entertainment industry to make sure this venue serves our community, the state, and future talent.”
“Our goal is to create ‘THE’ destination for outdoor music and events that is uniquely Macon, for it to be as welcoming and inspiring as it is functional,” adds Leonard. “This amphitheater will be a performer’s dream and an audience’s premier experience, and it will set the stage for redevelopment of the surrounding restaurant and retail district.”
“It’s exciting to work with a group that includes TVS, Stage Front, and HGOR because of their expertise in creating spaces that entice people to ‘Come early and stay late,” adds Thompson. “TVS alone has designed more than 18 performing arts centers, and HGOR played a vital role in the design of the Battery at the Atlanta Braves Stadium and the Brickyard at The Mercedes Benz Stadium.”
Other projects members of the Design/Build Team have been a part of that lend to their experience and knowledge of the entertainment industry and community’s needs include: Georgia World Congress Center, The Battery at Truist Park, Colorado Convention Center Expansion, Georgia Dome, BB&T Center, College Football Hall of Fame, Augusta Convention Center, Reno Events Center, International Waterfront Mixed Use Development in Trinidad & Tobago, Georgia Aquarium, Steven Tanger Center for the Performing Arts, Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Macon City Auditorium, Mercer University Hawkins Arena, Cox Capitol Theater, Museum of Arts & Sciences Amphitheater, Decatur High School Performing Arts Theater, and more.
The amphitheater stage will be on the southeast corner of the site and face toward Rocky Creek and Mercer University Drive, and it will have three distinct seating areas: 2,500 fixed seats in a stepped seating bowl, 1,500 temporary seats on a flat floor between the fixed seats and stage, and 6,000 lawn seats outside of the bowl and roof structure. VIP seating will be in 10 “boxes” between the pit and fixed seating. Two entrance plazas will have concessions, retail amenities, and restrooms, as well as overlooks providing additional VIP opportunities. There will be other concession and retail options around the amphitheater, and future plans could include the construction of a full-service restaurant.
Performers will have use of a 60’ deep by 72’ wide performance stage with 20’ wide wings. A 12-15’ deep loading dock is being designed to accommodate eight truck bays covered with a canopy to better serve the performers and crews. There will be separate men’s and women’s dressing rooms, star dressing rooms, a green room and catering area, a makeup room, and break rooms and eating areas for the crews.
The construction of the new amphitheater is part of a larger revitalization effort surrounding the redevelopment of the Macon Mall. In September, the Mayor and other leaders announced that Hull Property Group would donate the Macon Mall to the government. It will undergo a major redevelopment plan that would, in addition to building the amphitheater, keep its current retail stores, bring in more retail, attract new restaurants into and around the Mall, relocate government offices to vacant spaces, and include new sporting activities, such as a large indoor pickleball center.
“We are in the center of our community. A place we cannot run from, a place that still needs assets, love, money, respect,” said Mayor Miler at the time. “This area is getting ready to explode [in growth]. It’s nothing one person can do. It’s something that we can do together.”
“We have to save this Mall and the Eisenhower Corridor, and we’re doing that. This is historic,” District 9 Commissioner Al Tillman said at the announcement. “This has been the biggest announcement during my tenure. We could not do it without Mayor Miller, Commission, and new administration.”
The project will not cost taxpayers any additional money. Rather, bonds are being issued that will be repaid for with rents already being paid at the mall and future rents from new businesses and offices locating there. The bonds were authorized by the Commission in November, and those funds will be used to build the amphitheater, make upgrades to the Mall, and allow for interior buildout to occur to attract new tenants.