On Tuesday, November 8, Mayor Lester Miller – representatives from the Amphitheater’s Design Build Team – presented an update on the project’s design and construction progress. This included the final design work, renderings, description, and an animated fly through to show people what they can expect to be built at the Macon Mall. You can view the presentation here.
“It’s one thing to talk about a new facility and what we hope to give to our community…it’s another thing to see what people can expect. The pictures of the new amphitheater are beautiful, and I know people will be amazed at what Macon-Bibb will offer in the form of outdoor entertainment,” says Mayor Lester Miller.
“This project is a return on investment for a community that has held strong despite more than a decade of disinvestment. By bringing a mixed use project to Unionville & Bloomfield, we are returning equity to people’s homes and businesses while attracting new people to choose Macon as a home or tourism destination,” says Alex Morrison, Director of Planning and Public Spaces.
“We looked at this venue design from every angle – from the type of material to how people get concessions to where the sun will be to how the sound will project to the audience – to create an amazing experience for both the audiences and the performer,” says Emery Leonard, Principal with TVS. “Your venue will compete with others around the state and region.”
Early work on the site has already begun to prepare it for construction, including utility relocation (gas lines, eater lines, storm drains, old structures and foundations, etc.). Following the relocation, people can expect to see over the next five to seven weeks mass grading and creating the bowl effect, pouring the deep foundations, and beginning to pour foundations for the walls.
“It’s great to begin seeing work on the site, to know people will be able to see our progress to having a top-notch outdoor performance venue,” adds Mayor Lester Miller.
Piedmont Construction Group has set up a time lapse camera so people can see progress on the site at any time. That view can be found by clicking here: https://www.piedmontconstructiongroup.com/amphitheater.cms.
“What we know from tours and promoters is that a venue of this size is needed in middle Georgia,” said David Aiello, Macon Centreplex Coliseum & Auditorium General Manager. “They’re looking for a great place in this area that can handle this many people as a stop in their tour.”
“I want to thank our Design-Build Team, the UDA, and our departments for working together on the design and planning, and for getting us to this point,” adds Mayor Miller. “This is what Team Macon-Bibb looks like: people, organizations, and companies working together to make something wonderful happen for all people.”
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.
In February 2022, the UDA selected Piedmont Construction Group, TVS, Stage Front, and HGOR as the Design/Build Team for the amphitheater. Combined, this team brings extensive experience in design/build projects, mixed-use facilities, entertainment venues, auditoriums, and amphitheaters.
In May 2022, the UDA approved OVG360 for the management of the amphitheater. OVG360 is the current management company for the Macon Coliseum and Macon City Auditorium. OVG360 is the third-party, venue management, venue services, and hospitality division of Oak View Group (OVG), which is the leading global venue development, advisory, and investment company for both the sports and live entertainment industries.
About the Macon Mall Redevelopment
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.”
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.