Converting Virgil Powers School into downtown affordable housing

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MACON, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) – Macon-Bibb County is turning an old downtown school into affordable housing. Mayor Robert Reichert says Virgil Powers School has been vacant for 15 years.

The school sits at the corner of Hawthorne and Second Streets.

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“It started out as an elementary school when there were a lot of families living in the area,” he said. “But through the ’40s, ’50s, ’60s, and ’70s everyone was moving out.”

Macon-Bibb County commissioners approved a plan Tuesday which transfers the building to the Macon-Bibb Urban Development Authority. Commissioners hope the Urban Authority finds a use for the building so that more people can reside in the urban core.

“We’ve had a lot of market-rate loss,” Urban Development Authority Director Alex Morrison said. “What we’re trying to do now is move to having the full gamut of affordability and options for people who want to live in and around the urban core.”



Mayor Reichert says Virgil Powers is positioned between Mercer University and downtown.

He calls this an ideal location for those wanting the feel of a downtown lifestyle.

“There are a lot of people in service roles and even teachers, firefighters, and deputy sheriffs when they start off,” Mayor Reichert said. “The entry-level salary is high 20’s and low 30’s. That means you can’t afford to pay $2,000 rent for a loft apartment.”

The Urban Development Authority is searching for developers who want to work on the project.