New shopping center coming to north Macon in 2019

Graphic designed by Blossom Onunekwu.

Graphic designed by Blossom Onunekwu.

A new shopping center is slated to open at 1625 Bass Road next fall with a variety of retail stores under the name “North Macon Plaza.”

Michael Cohn is president of Berkley Development, the Atlanta-based company going in on the project alongside joint venture partner The Sembler Company.

“What I like about the mix of stores is it covers all spectrums of retail, (including) apparel, domestics, arts and crafts and home decor,” Cohn said to The Telegraph. “There is about 30,000-40,000 square feet of local shop space, which we expect to lease to restaurants users and health and wellness users to fully round out our mix.”

So far, the shopping center is expected to contain Marshall’s/Homegoods, Michael’s, Beall’s Outlet, Old Navy, Five Below, Famous Footwear and Lifeway Christian Resources.

A left turn lane will be added on the intersection of Bass Road and Bass Pro Shops near Starcadia Circle, according to 13WMAZ.

The Macon-Bibb County Planning & Zoning Commission approved the plans for the 166,465-square-foot shopping center in March. It will take up 19 acres between Bass Pro Shops and The Shoppes at River Crossing, according to The Telegraph.

North Macon Plaza will not have any big-box retailers (such as Walmart, Dick’s Sporting Goods, and yes — Target) but instead up to 12 smaller shops.

This is partly because many popular chain stores are downsizing their franchise locations as online shopping becomes more popular and partly because the developers are interested in keeping the plaza flexible.

“Due to the fact that ‘big box’ retailers have significantly downsized their store footprints, there will not be one giant retailer anchoring this center,” Cohn said. “Instead, this center will have modest-sized store footprints that can easily be repurposed as the retailing environment inevitably changes through the years.”

The planning & zoning commission has heard plans for the space, which is owned by Macon’s Fickling & Co, since 2005, but did not approve previous applications.

WMAZ reported that some critics feel another shopping center is a poor use of space and money in the era of digital shopping. Others worry that it will worsen traffic in the busy commercial area along Bass Road.