Governor signs deed transferring Sports Hall of Fame to Bibb authority

lmorris@macon.comDecember 19, 2013 

Gov. Nathan Deal signed a deed Thursday that transfers the state-owned Georgia Sports Hall of Fame in Macon to local ownership.

In October, the Development Authority of Bibb County agreed to buy the property for $138,000. The closing is expected to take place Friday morning at Sell & Melton law firm.

About $125,000 of the purchase price would come from bond money, with the remainder paid by downtown revitalization organization NewTown Macon. The property “has been appraised fairly recently for $9 million,” said Chix Miller, the authority’s attorney. The state had deemed the property to be surplus.

The museum has been owned by the state since the late 1990s when the tourist attraction was built.

Also Thursday, the authority approved a lease and management agreement for the museum with Urban Development Concepts LLC, the sole member of which is NewTown Macon Inc.

The initial term of the lease agreement is 40 years, with an option to renew for nine more years, Miller said. NewTown, which expects to move its office from Cherry Street to the museum, will pay an initial base rent of $200 a month, according to the lease agreement. All repairs and maintenance of the sports hall are the responsibility of NewTown.

Hal Baskins, director of business and real estate development for NewTown, said some renovations need to be made before NewTown could move in.

“I would expect it to be in the first half of next year,” Baskins said.

Authority member Kirby Godsey said “it is a wonderful thing” for the sports hall to remain open in Macon.

“It’s very positive and good for Macon to have the Sports Hall of Fame here,” Godsey said. “I’m proud that the development authority could be a part of making this happen.”

In 2011, the state stopped funding the sports museum and the Georgia Music Hall of Fame. The music hall was closed and later sold to Mercer University. The authority has been leasing the sports hall from the state for about $130,000 a year, and NewTown Macon has been managing the property.

Information from Telegraph archives was used in this report. To contact writer Linda S. Morris, call 744-4223.

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