Renaissance project land to revert to city

Developers have six months to meet purchase deal

jgaines@macon.comDecember 10, 2013 

Work has not started on the Renaissance on the River development planned for a 12-acre site on Riverside Drive, so two parcels of land are being handed back to the city of Macon.

The Public Properties Committee of Macon City Council voted 4-0 Tuesday, with Councilman Lonnie Miley absent, to accept the land from the Macon-Bibb County Urban Development Authority.

An investment group led by former Mercer University President Kirby Godsey proposed to build 24 condominiums, a 42-bed hotel, 100,000 square feet of office/commercial space, a parking deck/garage, a river club and about 142 apartment units over ground-floor retail space. Agreements between the city and development authority say if development hadn’t begun by Nov. 10, 2013, the city would get its portion of the land back.

“So should we assume that the Godsey project is not going forward?” committee Chairman Rick Hutto said.

Not necessarily, City Attorney Judd Drake said. Godsey’s option to buy the land, for the anticipated price of $1.16 million, doesn’t expire until June 2014. If Godsey’s group raises the money by then, the land can be reconveyed to the development authority, Drake said.

The two parcels covered by the current resolution are 801 and 815 Riverside Drive, the former sites of the Macon Transit Authority and the city’s Central Services Office.

The council voted in November 2012 to transfer the final parcel of land to the development authority. That started an 18-month clock for Godsey’s group to buy the site.

No representative of that group, Renaissance on the River LLC, was present at Tuesday’s meeting. Sam Henderson, executive assistant to the mayor, and Keith Moffett, assistant to the chief administrative officer, said afterward they had heard no update on the project’s status.

Councilwoman Elaine Lucas asked the reason for turning the land over to the development authority in the first place. Hutto said the city can’t convey land to developers for less than market value, but the city could give it to the development authority, another public agency.

The development authority can legally dispose of land for less than market price. In 2008, the site on Riverside between Spring Street Lane and Second Street was appraised at $2.3 million.

It was assembled from 11 parcels of land, with a quarter of it bought by the Peyton Anderson Foundation and the rest already owned by Macon or Bibb County. Ten percent of the anticipated $1.16 million sales price would be kept by the development authority, with the rest divided proportionately between Macon-Bibb County government and the Peyton Anderson Foundation.

Renaissance paid $15,000 for the 18-month purchase option, which could be extended by six months at no extra charge.

The Renaissance proposal, made to the development authority in August 2010, calls for $49 million in private money and $8.3 million in public infrastructure. The private investment would include $11 million for office buildings, $32 million for a hotel and residential buildings, and a $6 million parking deck.

The purchase-option agreement requires the condominiums to be finished and occupied by June 30, 2015, and the apartments by Dec. 31, 2016. The project could be scaled back by as much as 20 percent without further approval by the development authority.

The resolution to accept the two parcels is expected to come up for a final vote Dec. 17, the last regular meeting of Macon City Council before it’s replaced by the new Macon-Bibb County commission.

To contact writer Jim Gaines, call 744-4489.

The Telegraph is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service