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Bibb County moves forward with plan for $350M east Macon development

The county will spend $14 million to buy the site of the old Bibb Mill off Coliseum Drive.

MACON, Ga. — The sounds of construction equipment could soon come to east Macon.

Bibb commissioners Tuesday moved forward with a plan to buy more than 21 acres of land on Coliseum Drive just across the street from the Centreplex. It's for a development they say could bring in millions of dollars.

Commissioners spent a lot of time behind the scenes hashing out the plans. After about an hour in executive session, they decided to spend $14 million to buy the property. Over $10 million will come from SPLOST money, and $3 million from the county's general fund.

It's an empty lot full of charred brick, and it sits along busy Coliseum Drive. It may not be empty for long, though. For years, city and county government debated what to do with the property. Then, the mill building burned down in March.

"You'll see some commercial property. We've already been in discussion with potential medical offices. As well as parking there. You'll see up to 825 residences there," said Mayor Lester Miller as he presented the plans.

Those 825 'residences' are split between a new hotel, condos and apartments. They'll also include restaurants and retail space in the development, and even a park area, which leads to the pedestrian entrance to the Ocmulgee Mounds.

Commissioner Elaine Lucas says people in east Macon have waited a long time for something like this.

"I am just so excited. I am just thrilled," Lucas said. "A lot of people on the east side sometimes talk about being forgotten and neglected and overlooked. And you really do get to feel that way sometimes."

She says this proves east Macon is really in the spotlight now. She hopes it opens the door for even more development.

"Not only will there be new development on that side of the river, but it will encourage additional growth and development on all of the east side," Lucas said.

Lucas says this is another huge plus for east Macon. She says it's been a big year for the area, with this project, and with construction wrapping on Jeffersonville Road.

The next step is finding a developer to plan the project. They hope to close on the property by January.

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