Downtown development hits a snag with storm drain issues

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MACON, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) – Hotel stay anyone? Downtown is becoming a better place to work, live and visit. The Macon-Bibb county commission has started work on some major building projects.

“We currently have in development a 142 room hotel,” said project developer Miller Heath.

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But as the city gets closer to seeing its first commercial franchise hotel in downtown, trouble with infrastructure along Poplar Street poses an issue.

“Development in downtown is a primary importance we’re talking about another hotel going up that’s going to be very very convenient for especially people at the medical center that need a place to stay overnight,” said Commissioner Larry Schlesinger.

Commissioners are now working alongside MMI Capital CEO Miller Heath to meet the needs of the construction company.



“Well a lot of this infrastructure was laid down as the city was growing, so 50-60 years later when you start adding all these retail stations, they’re not up to modern standards,” Heath said.

The commission will assist by putting in storm drains and investing $80 million in SPLOST funding toward two new parking decks.

“We’ve got to do what other cities have done and that’s create parking decks so accommodate the number of people who are now heading downtown who ten years ago would’ve gone elsewhere,” Schlesinger said.

780 additional parking spaces, 80 new apartments and 21,000 square feet of retail space, Heath says there are a lot of factors to take into account even before construction begins in early summer.

“Figuring out traffic patterns, figuring out storm water issues, figuring out utilities, parking, side walks–there’s a lot of interconnection that goes into the system,” Heath added.

Their hope is to help downtown become less of a hassle for residents and more of a vacation spot to visitors.

Heath says they can’t yet divulge which major hotel chain will be coming to downtown, but they’ll announce the name later this month.