$8 million Dannenberg project nearly complete | News
Some say downtown Macon is growing, and that's thanks to $8 million projects like the Dannenberg Lofts.
Developers used a $1.5 million grant to build the lofts. That was money originally set aside to renovate the Atlantic Cotton Mills before it burned down in March 2011.
On Wednesday, Kinetix Health Club opened its first downtown location on the first floor of the lofts.
Within the next two months, community leaders say neighbors will also soon be able to shop at Ocmulgee Traders grocery store and eat at Kudzu Seafood Restaurant.
Lee Clack, owner of Kudzu Catering, says the new restaurant will feature grilled and fried seafood in a casual setting.
Development is happening now, especially at the Dannenberg, but Gene Dunwody Jr. says it was only a vision just a few years ago.
"If you had come here two years ago, this was still full of junk. Pigeons were flying around and it was really in disrepair," Dunwody Jr. said.
But he says now, the 94,000 square-foot space is bringing life back to the city.
Mike Ford with Newtown Macon says the lofts have been a big player in downtown development.
"There are more people living downtown, and there are more commercial businesses coming downtown, so it affirms that we're on the right track," Ford said.
Soon, those who live in one of the 64 units at the Dannenberg on Third Street will have a lot more just a few steps away.
That's why Isaac Serna says he moved downtown from North Macon. As soon as the lofts first opened in August.
"The conveniences really did sell us on this building," he said. "We thought it'd be so great to run downstairs at 7 at night and get a gallon of milk and run back up to the apartment, instead of driving all the way to the grocery store."
Though Serna says he's had concerns about living downtown before, he says new development is a jump in the right direction towards a busier, more vibrant downtown hub.
According to Dunwody Jr., the loft-style apartments are now at 60% occupancy, while retail space is fully booked.