Long awaited Alexander IV senior living home project is ready to move forward

In this file photo, a person walks up to Alexander IV Elementary School for an Historic Macon Foundation’s public meeting.
In this file photo, a person walks up to Alexander IV Elementary School for an Historic Macon Foundation’s public meeting. wmarshall@macon.com

It isn’t the last step in the string of Alexander IV updates, but it’s a step nonetheless.

The $8.8 million plan to revamp Alexander IV on Ridge Avenue into a senior facility is officially set to move forward, after Knoxville-based developer Dover Development, Macon Land Bank Authority and Historic Macon signed a contract June 15. The facility is set to have 60 units for senior living.

Construction on the project will begin in early 2018, following a year’s delay due to contract negotiations among all parties involved, according to Alison Goldey, executive director of the Macon-Bibb County Land Bank Authority.

“We like to cover all the challenges, and any questions we have,” Goldey said. “We needed to ... make sure we had the required zoning and ... make sure the tax credits would be in place. ... We were working with a lot of departments on this.”

The goal is to have everything completed in 12 to 14 months according to Dover Development General Manager Rick Dover.

Until then, Dover Development plans to zone the property and present current designs to the public to receive feedback.

People can expect an upscale facility, designed like a fine hotel or country club, according to Dover.

“It’s very much laid out and furnished on a hospitality lifestyle model,” Dover said. “The health care component (of assisted living) is pretty well disguised in the hospitality.”

Plans for the facility include single and dual apartment units with private bathrooms, a wellness center and more. The facility will create 30 new jobs, including a full-time executive director, nursing staff, chef and activity directors.

Even with the new additions, memories of the old building will remain.

“I think Alexander IV lays up beautifully for what we want to do,” Dover said. “Obviously there are some areas we’ll need to address, but we want to put Alex IV back as close as we can to its original materials.”

The elementary school had been vacant for several years when it was placed on Macon’s annual Fading Five list of endangered places in 2015. With help from Macon-Bibb County Commissioner Mallory Jones and the Macon Land Bank Authority, Historic Macon found a developer to transform the property.

“Dover Development’s commitment to saving historic buildings is evident in communities across the Southeast,” said Historic Macon Executive Director Ethiel Garlington. “We’re thrilled that they won the bid to bring (this iconic piece of architecture) back to life. This is another success story of Macon’s annual Fading Five and its role in saving our community’s historic places.”