MACON, Ga. — The 'Crisco House' on Macon's College Street has stood for over a century. Legend has it, the man who built the house went on to create Crisco vegetable shortening.
Now, the house may get new life as a boutique hotel. The first hurdle: the InTown Macon Neighborhood Association. The plan is for the potential buyers, Michael Rivellino and Carrie Genzel, to live in the home, and build out 12 boutique hotel rooms inside. Even Mayor Lester Miller is on board.
"I think it's more personal that you know in-person how supportive I am of this project," Miller said to the crowd at the Historic Macon office Tuesday. "Very sincere people. They've got a heart for our community already, which a lot of people fall in love with Macon when they get here. They can be an asset to our community."
Rivellino and Genzel are in, too.
"It means so much," Rivellino said. "I mean, we'll use it creatively to shine a light on other areas of the city."
The neighbors had some concerns, though, like parking. The couple presented a solution: turning the backyard into a parking lot.
"Basically, the cars would come in and park back there. From the street, you wouldn't see them," Rivellino said.
Others worried the alley that would lead guests to the backyard is too narrow. Four other houses use the alley to get to their driveways. Some neighbors say people often park in the alley and block them in. Others called the whole process 'sneaky.'
"Stuff that's not being presented here, unless we ask the right questions," one man told Rivellino.
Rivellino argued they needed to iron things out before presenting the plans to the neighborhood.
"We did not do anything to surprise anyone. This is just the step in the process where we present to Ethiel [Garlington]," he said. "We present to you. You get to ask questions, and we have to answer them."
The neighborhood association doesn't really have any official say in what happens to the house. That call belongs to the Macon-Bibb Planning and Zoning Commission, and Historic Macon Foundation.
Planning and Zoning would need to rezone the property to allow a business. It's currently zoned for residential use. Meanwhile, Historic Macon would need to change a covenant that comes with the house that says it must be a single-family home.