Local officials have yet to sign off on the land option for Renaissance on the River, the proposed $50 million mixed-use development off Riverside Drive.
Last month, the Macon-Bibb County Urban Development Authority signed an 18-month option agreement for the project, which would be anchored by an upscale tower hotel with condominiums and office space on the 12-acre site controlled by the authority. However, other stakeholders in the property -- Bibb County, the Peyton Anderson Foundation and the city of Macon -- have yet to give it the OK.
The Peyton Anderson Foundation is filing a petition in Superior Court to ask a judge to determine whether the option would be a conflict of interest, attorney Jeff Hanson said at Thursday’s authority meeting. Former Mercer University President Kirby Godsey, owner of Renaissance on the River LLC, is a foundation trustee.
The foundation invested about $1 million in four acres at the site, which it turned over to the authority to develop.
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Juanita Jordan, the foundation’s president, and Ed Sell, chairman of the foundation’s board of directors, both were out of town Thursday and could not be reached for comment.
The option has been sent to the city and county. City officials are trying to determine whether the option will require City Council approval, Hanson said.
The project also has another hurdle to clear: the relocation of the city’s Central Services Department from the site. Mayor Robert Reichert has proposed moving the department to Central City Park, where a new building would be built and two others renovated.
The move would not be cheap. The city has estimated the cost at $1.5 million.
Reichert has said about $300,000 remaining from a 2002 bond issue could be put toward the relocation, and Renaissance has agreed to pay $500,000 to help with the move, with the cost knocked off the $1.16 million purchase price of the Riverside property.
Chairman Bob Lewis urged authority members to “make every effort” to find options for funding the remaining $700,000.
Authority Executive Director Alex Morrison suggested that “in-kind contributions” from Central Services might lower the final figure. Properties committee Chairman Gene Dunwody Jr. suggested meeting with city planners to “tighten up” the estimates.
Under the option agreement, Renaissance on the River LLC would pay $15,000 for an 18-month option. However, if the authority is unable to acquire the city’s Central Services Department property on the site, the option is extended by an additional six months. The authority currently controls eight acres there.
The authority for years has sought to have the property developed, and it has entertained several proposals by developers. None, however, has progressed to this point.
Phase 1 of Renaissance would feature a hotel with 40 rooms, 24 condominiums and a top-floor restaurant and club, as well as a 100,000-square-foot office building and a public parking deck.
The proposed second phase would add retail space and 142 apartments. Overall, the project could add more than 230 residential units downtown and represent a $140 million commercial investment.