A 152-unit boutique hotel with an entertainment aisle is planned at 678 Poplar Street
MACON, Georgia — Developers in downtown Macon have new plans for nearly an entire building block and historic renovation project between First and Second streets.
Miller Heath III and Tim Thorton originally proposed Central City Commons several years ago with a Hyatt Place hotel, but the COVID-19 pandemic has been accused of derailing funding and kill a bond agreement with the Urban Development Authority for car parks near City Hall. Heath and Thornton then only launched construction of a mixed-use residential and commercial building with a parking deck behind City Hall, but the UDA is now considering a deal with another developer for a similar project to provide necessary government parking.
The men had long dreamed of developing their headquarters between Poplar and Plum streets, but now the real estate investment team of Opterra Capital joined their vision.
This local partnership of MMI-Thornton LLC and Opterra Investors Have Demands Before Macon-Bibb County Planning and Zoning Commission for a boutique hotel, multi-family residence and commercial building, entertainment driveway and parking for up to 500 vehicles. On Monday, the project failed to clear the Design Review Board, which called for certain architectural changes to be presented on April 18.
With the necessary approvals, construction of the Crescent Commons residential lofts could begin as early as next year, Opterra director of development Naomi Mirsky said. Design Review Board Monday.
“We envision this whole block as an interconnected area with many ways to engage the public,” Mirsky told the board.
She described the six-storey, 230-unit, U-shaped building as “a bit more modern and up to today’s standards” and “very welcoming and warm”.
But council rejected the mid-rise appearance for the corner of Plum and Second Streets – where Larry Bush’s Riverside Tire is now and the adjacent car park next to Heath’s Crescent Building. This empty lot had been approved for an Avid hotel in the previous Central City Commons proposal.
“It seems very big for the region. I will say that,” said Carrie Robinson of DRB. “I feel like the architecture of the structure looks very flat and like it was something quickly thought out to stay on budget.”
DRB member Lauren Mauldin raised concerns about the height of the building compared to what is along this southeast section of Second Street towards Little Richard Penniman.
“If you go down Second Street Corridor, off the freeway, everything is flat, flat,” Mauldin said. “And the first thing you see…seems a bit shocking.”
Mirsky hinted that future development would come even further up Second, away from Plum Street, into what was proposed as “Mid-City Square”.
DRB staff also noted that the possible Mid-City development “will begin less than 150 feet down Second Street, and is intended to be of a significantly greater scale and height than this building”.
Mirsky said: “Think about how this is going to go. This is a first in a series that will occur in this area. We know that’s where things are going.
Council voted to hold the Certificate of Relevance application until next month to give the architects a chance to improve the rendering to achieve more of what Robinson considers ‘downtown rhythm’.
In the rejected design, the first floor of the residence building would be a mix of exterior bricks and EFIS, a synthetic stucco material known as Exterior Insulating Finish Systems. It will include 6,500 square feet of retail space housing a “national brand cafe” and a 4,000 square foot gym that will offer memberships to non-residents. The rest of the ground floor will be 180 covered parking spaces, partially underground with the slope of the land.
Boutique Hotel, Entertainment Alley
Walkways will connect Crescent Corners to a 75,000 square foot hotel with six stories and large windows overlooking 678 Poplar St. The 152-unit hotel will be separated from the Thornton real estate office by a courtyard-like driveway that will feature outdoor seating, sprawling artwork, and an entertainment area for musical performances.
The second floor bar lobby can open to a terrace and also plans to serve drinks in the aisle.
Developers are also seeking tax credits to restore the historic 1891 Newman Building with its towering turret on the corner of First Street, which will serve as the hotel’s event space on the upper floors by connecting via a second-floor walkway. . A restaurant is offered on the ground floor.
Stephen Overcash, design director at ODA Architecture in Charlotte, said the new hotel will pay homage to Macon’s history as a railroad town and incorporate rail elements into the design.
“You have a lot of great buildings in Macon, so we thought less detail might help show them better,” Overcash told the board.
The building will alternate brick and EFIS panels in large sections of the facade, with light-colored panels dominating approximately three-quarters of the facade.
Again, the council wanted to see an improved design, possibly with more brick accents.
“Something to take the vanilla out of these three pieces,” said board member Will Stanford.
Overcash countered with, “Less vanilla and more chocolate.”
The team will appear before P&Z next week to seek project approval before returning to the design review board with the requested architectural changes later in the month.
In promotional material submitted at Monday’s meeting, the team says, “Some 60,000 hotel guests per year and 500 full-time apartment residents will provide significant new foot traffic to surrounding retail stores and restaurants. .”
Senior Civic Journalism Researcher Liz Fabian covers government entities in Macon-Bibb County and can be reached at [email protected] or 478-301-2976.
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