A vacant lot with a pile of rubble or shops, apartments, and restaurants? Overgrown weeds or a beautiful gateway into our community? An abandoned building or space bustling with out-of-town visitors?
The answer is simple… our community deserves an investment that will kickstart more revitalization throughout the area.
Local leaders – from elected officials to development professionals to community groups – have long seen the potential of the former Bibb Mill site on Coliseum Drive. It’s the perfect location to become a vibrant center of activity and a gateway from I-16 into both East Macon and Downtown.
“When people get off the interstate to come to shows at the Centreplex or go to a conference at the Marriott or head Downtown, we want to make sure they’re greeted with something that makes them want to stay longer, to see all that we have to offer,” says Mayor Lester Miller.
Right now, the grass is overgrown, there’s an abandoned building, and a pile of rubble where a building once stood. But that’s all set to change with Macon-Bibb County agreeing to buy the 21 acres for $14 million and seek out a developer to build something where people will be proud to live, to come to work, to jog and bike, and to give people a better first look at our community.
“This is just an amazing opportunity that was presented to us, and one we knew we had to take advantage of. East Macon has been waiting for this area to be redeveloped, bring the area shopping and eating options, create jobs, and enhance the nearby neighborhoods,” says Commissioner Elaine Lucas.
Because of the size of the property, its location on the interstate, and its proximity to Downtown, the Convention Center, and the Ocmulgee Mounds National Historical Park, estimated it could attract $350 million in private investment.
“This is a direct and intentional investment in the future of East Macon and the entire community,” says Commissioner Paul Bronson. “With a development of this scale, we’ll be better able to serve the needs of people in the surrounding area, all while bringing more people here to find out who we are. .”
By buying the property, Macon-Bibb County will have control over what’s built there, to make sure it fits the overall community vision for the area and its future. And its location means that its redevelopment will have a major impact on many aspects of our lives and the future of other efforts in the city.
That includes being able to attract larger conferences to the Convention Center, providing more affordable housing during Downtown’s resurgence, creating a more accessible entrance to the Ocmulgee Mounds National Historical Park, providing more funds for infrastructure improvements in the neighborhoods, increasing sales tax revenue (thus reducing property taxes), and more.
The next few weeks, we’ll delve a little deeper into the ways this development will improve the immediate area and the entire community.