Construction on Macon's convention hotel begins

Macon leaders celebrated a groundbreaking for the convention center hotel that will be built next to the Macon Coliseum and Wilson Convention Center.

Officials marked the occasion Monday by turning over chunks of asphalt and concrete on the site where the hotel is to be built, calling it the 'commencement of construction.' Last fall, officials held their first groundbreaking ceremony to mark the closing of the deal with developer Noble Investment Group.

Noble officials said Jackson, Miss.-based Harrell Contracting Group will oversee construction of a 220-room, $38 million Mariott Hotel that will open in the next 16 months. Mayor Robert Reichert said it will give the city a competitive edge in luring tourists and conventions to town.

'It's going to be attractive. It's going to be modern. It's going to be beautiful. It's going to be great,' he said.