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Bibb commission says yes to $20 million for new downtown parking garages

Architect, developer reveal more details about major project

The architect and developers provided the zoning commission more details about another portion of Phase I of Central City Commons. It will include lofts, retail space and a parking garage.
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The architect and developers provided the zoning commission more details about another portion of Phase I of Central City Commons. It will include lofts, retail space and a parking garage.

The Macon-Bibb County Commission gave its support Tuesday for the use of $20 million in bonds for parking garages tied to a Macon mixed-used development.

The vote means the county is in favor of entering into an agreement with the Macon-Bibb County Urban Development Authority and a developer to issue bonds to finance two downtown parking decks. Those decks would be connected to the planned $90 million Central City Commons development that would include new housing, retail and event space and two hotels.

There’s still some final work to be done on the county’s side before it’s complete. The Bibb County school board also needs to give the OK since the development agreement involves using a payment in lieu of taxes, or PILOT, program.

Tuesday’s vote means the county is entering a “due diligence” phase that includes finalizing contracts related to the parking decks as part of the master agreement, Mayor Robert Reichert said.

The agreement calls for one parking deck to be built behind a new Hyatt Place hotel on Poplar Street. Another parking deck would be located off D.T. Walton Sr. Way by the mixed-use portion of the development, according to the plans.

In total, there will be 790 parking spaces in the garages that would be owned by the Urban Development Authority.

Several commissioners said Tuesday that they welcomed Central City Commons.

“I think downtown has been looking forward to this and I think it’s going to be a great thing,” Commissioner Valerie Wynn said. “I’m a little apprehensive about the financing ... and what exposure it puts Macon-Bibb County at if it doesn’t succeed. But I’m not looking for it not to succeed. I think Macon will support it.”

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The bonds would be repaid through PILOT payments and parking fees, according to the agreement.

Macon-Bibb government would also use $1 million of Macon-Bibb’s special sales tax revenue for stormwater and sewage improvements in the area.

The developers behind Central City Commons estimate the project will create about 150 permanent jobs and generate nearly $1 million annually in sales and hotel-motel tax revenue.

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