A $40 million to $50 million housing project is coming to Mercer University . The complex is planned to be established across the road from the football stadium by the fall 2016.
“It’s not just a housing development. It’s a full on retail, residential, commercial development,” Student Government Association President Joseph Wozniak said.
One of the two blocks in which the construction will take place currently is occupied by a plumbing supply building that closed a few years ago, according to President William Underwood. After the demolition of this building, this block will contain a hotel, restaurant and two food courts.
The second block will occupy a new series of lofts that will hold 300 beds, larger than the three previous lofts combined, Underwood said. A parking deck will also be installed to accommodate the residents.
Jim Daws, a developer from Sierra Development, will assist with student housing of the apartments.
“One of the benefits of it is to… continue creating more attractive vistas into campus and into Macon,” Underwood said.
Underwood desires for the first impression that travelers received of Macon and of Mercer to truly represent the passion of the university and the community.
“I think it’ll create even more energy around the campus,” Underwood added.
Underwood announced a new initiative approved by the Board of Trustees on Friday night at the homecoming pep rally. The initiative is called Aspire, and it plans to raise $400 million to create new buildings on Mercer’s campuses. The initiative has already raised $90 million.
This campaign will fund the new housing complex in addition to an education and research building on the Savannah campus, a pharmacy and education building on the Atlanta campus and a new residence hall, science building and baseball stadium on Macon’s campus.
“Bill Underwood has charted a path for the future that is really going to lead us into being a leading institution in this nation,” Dean of Students Douglas Pearson said after the announcement of the initiative. “It’s going to make us really a national powerhouse as far as institutions go,” he added.
Wozniak said that the housing project answered the concerns about student housing on campus. He explained that students want to be in the “hub of excitement” and enjoy the activities that take place on campus.
“Our student body is increasing, but also our attitude about our school is also increasing,” Wozniak said.
According to Wozniak, SGA surveyed students about their preferences for restaurants to be brought to campus. Top choices were The Brick from Milledgeville, a frozen yogurt shop, Cook-Out, and The Varsity. Cook-Out is planning to move to Macon in the Mercer University Drive area, but no official location has been announced, according to WMAZ,. Although these restaurants were the top choices of the students, no official choice has been made on which restaurants will be established in the new development.
Underwood said that he believes that students will enjoy the new development. The hotel will be similar to the quality of the Hilton Garden Inn, and the restaurants will be equally satisfactory, according to Underwood.
“I think it’ll create even more energy around the campus,” Underwood said.