MACON – Mercer University, the College Hill Alliance and Macon-Bibb County announced Tuesday plans for construction of a new hotel and restaurant development on Mercer's Macon campus.
The hotel, which is among the first of a new prototype for Marriott's TownePlace Suites brand, is set to be completed next fall and will feature 95 rooms, all with full kitchens and the latest television and Internet technology.
PHD Hotels Inc. of Opelika, Alabama, is developing the property, which will include an expanded lobby, well-appointed guest rooms, 650-square-foot meeting room, outdoor pool and fitness center. PHD previously developed the Hilton Garden Inn, located across Mercer University Drive from the site of the new hotel.
"We are excited about the opportunity to work with Mercer University again on another hotel project and be part of such a fantastic campus development," said Tom Hunt, president of PHD Hotels Inc.
The hotel will sit in the midst of a two-block, $40-50 million development that will be known as Mercer Landing. This includes the 313-bed Lofts at Mercer Landing, which are set to be completed next summer, as well as a restaurant and food court near the new hotel on the site of the former Noland plumbing supply warehouse.
Sierra Development Group of Macon is developing the lofts and the new dining options. The food court is set to include Chen's Wok and Papa John's Pizza, and the developers are in discussions with Momma Goldberg's Deli, as well. The restaurant and additional food court franchises will be announced at a later date.
"With construction nearing completion on our fifth phase of student loft apartments and the signing on of new businesses who sense the excitement and opportunity Mercer Landing creates, we are proud partners in taking the Mercer experience to yet another level," said James H. Daws, president of Sierra Development Group.
Additionally, Macon-Bibb County has provided partial funding for a pedestrian bridge over Mercer University Drive connecting Mercer Landing with the remainder of the Macon campus.
"The pedestrian bridge, this development and the future rebuilding of the Tindall Heights Homes will greatly improve one of the gateways into our city. Working with our partners, we are revitalizing Macon-Bibb County's urban core and strengthening our entire community," said Macon-Bibb County Mayor Robert A.B. Reichert.
Upon completion of these projects, more than $100 million will have been invested on and near the Macon campus since 2011 for five lofts complexes and the hotel-restaurant development.
About the Second Street Corridor
The Second Street Corridor is an economic development and downtown revitalization project started with funding from the voter-approved Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST). The project stretches from East Macon through Downtown, connecting to Little Richard Penniman Boulevard and Mercer University Drive, and creating gateways into Macon-Bibb at either end. Long-term, the Corridor will extend further west along Mercer University Drive to the Macon Mall and Middle Georgia State College.
Several projects along the Second Street Corridor are either complete or in process, including:
- Vision Block – The block of Second Street between Cherry and Poplar Streets that features bike lanes, reverse angle parking, landscaping, shade trees, benches, improved sidewalks, an irrigation system and more. This will be replicated all along the Corridor.
- Connector – A vehicular, bicycle and pedestrian bridge connecting Little Richard Penniman Boulevard with Second Street. The first phase has been completed, creating a more pedestrian friendly street with an expanded park and realigned intersection.
- MidCity Square – A new public green space located at the intersection of Second and Pine Streets. Several of the properties have been purchased and the buildings demolished.
- Pinnacle Park – Work on this new green space in the Tindall Heights neighborhood is ongoing, and it will feature trails, benches, landscaping and a great view of Downtown.
- Mercer University Drive Pedestrian Bridge – Using Tax Allocation District bond funding, a signature pedestrian bridge will serve as a gateway into the city. Its construction is helping bring almost $50 million in investment to the Tindall Heights area.
About the College Hill Alliance
Initially established with a grant to Mercer University from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation in 2009, the College Hill Alliance assists the community in creating positive change to the physical, social and economic fabric of the College Hill Corridor, a two-square mile area between Mercer's campus and Macon, Georgia's downtown business district. Today, the internationally recognized economic development project has leveraged over $150 million in urban renewal, entrepreneurship, arts, neighborhood growth and entertainment. For more information, visit collegehillmacon.com.