'Central City Commons' downtown Macon project excites Mayor Reichert


    New hotels, restaurants, parking decks, and event space are one step closer to becoming a reality for downtown Macon. This comes after the Macon-Bibb Urban Development Authority approved a new agreement/WGXA

    MACON, Ga. -- New hotels, restaurants, parking decks, and event space are one step closer to becoming a reality for downtown Macon. This comes after the Macon-Bibb Urban Development Authority approved a new agreement.

    Business managers met with the Urban Development Authority on Thursday before coming to an agreement.

    Central City Commons is a project that's hoping to make it's way downtown with multiple hotels, parking decks, retail spaces, office spaces and event spaces.

    Mayor Robert Reichert showed his support.

    "It's everybody's neighborhood. It's everybody's downtown," he said. "Every neighborhood needs a downtown. And our downtown is really something special."

    Project managers propose it will bring more jobs for middle Georgians. The partnership is with MMI Thornton, which is the business responsible.

    "The pilot agreement is a way that we fund developments," Reichert said. "It's called payment in lieu of taxes. In this particular deal, MMI Thorton will continue to pay the taxes they would otherwise over the life of the project. But instead of that revenue going in to pay the general fund of Macon-Bibb County, it's going to pay down the debt."

    Alex Morrison, executive director of the Macon-Bibb County Development Authority, says both parties are needed in this $90 million project.

    "That agreement is saying this development wouldn't happen without the public piece," he said. "And the public piece wouldn't happen without the private piece."

    It states $20 million in bonds is coming from the Urban Development Authority.

    "Nobody else's property taxes are going to pay down this debt," Morrison said. "So there's that source of revenue they would continue to pay the full tax burden, otherwise. But it's just going to go down to pay this deck. And then the parking revenue will also go to pay that."

    Project Manager Miller Heath says this project is a long time coming, but it still has a long way to go.

    "This is a large and complicated project so there's an awful lot of details to get to this point," he said. "And many details yet to be done."

    The next step will be for the full commission to vote next Tuesday and reaffirm the vote of the committee of the whole.


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