The Lofts continue expansion to College Street

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2013-10-24 17.45.25-2_1 2013-10-24 18.02.08_1 2013-10-24 18.04.50_1

Patrick Hobbs / Cluster Staff

Patrick Hobbs / Cluster Staff

The Lofts at Mercer are expanding again! Phase III was announced over the summer, but the breaking news is the all-new announcement of Phase IV, which is an accompanying retail center for Phase III.

“It’s the biggest development to date,” said Joshua Lovett from the College Hill Alliance. The retail center will take up 13,000 square feet, and will contain even more restaurants and businesses than Mercer Village. According to Lovett, the building will be a more modern style that will still compliment the old structures around it. “It’s just one next step up to the Corridor,” said Lovett.

The Corridor itself is a two-square-mile area that will connect Mercer University to downtown, meant to add vibrancy to the local community. Already, the businesses in Mercer Village (Phase II) have created over 150 jobs and given the university students more options for food. Phase IV will allow for even more options. The College Hill Alliance is already taking suggestions for the businesses that should inhabit Phase IV, such as The Brick, a restaurant in Milledgeville. The Brick offers an experience comparable to Margaritas mixed with the Hummingbird, says Lovett.

Having successfully completed Phases I and II of the master plan, builders broke ground over the summer to begin the construction of Phase III. Phase III is an apartment complex specifically for students attending the medical or law schools as well as seniors, according to Lovett. Consisting of one to two bedroom apartments, this new residential building will be located on College Street, across from the historic Tattnall Square Park. This will put the building within walking distance of the Mercer campus, and help spread the “college town cool” vibe that the College Hill Alliance is shooting for.

“It’s not a dorm, it’s a living space,” said Lovett, also explaining that the new buildings will feature a 21st century design that comes fully furnished with items such as granite countertops. Since living in Phase III allows for university students to fulfill their three year requirement, but also take in the Macon community that Mercer is embedded in, said Lovett. “It’s a great partnership that allows students to experience the best of both worlds.”

Lovett also explained that the College Hill Alliance was in the process of revisiting their master plan, where they take suggestions for what students and other residents want to see in the Corridor. People can offer ideas by talking to the Macon Connections chair Joey Wozniak, or going onto yourcorridor.com. This website allows anyone to drop a pin on the virtual map and summarize what they want in a few sentences. The idea will then be considered for the new master plan.

When asked whether the construction would stop after Phases III and IV, Lovett said that “there are always rumors of Phases V and VI,” but that at the moment, the focus is on the completion of Phase III. The College Hill Alliance hopes to break ground for Phase IV in the spring.

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