Macon’s new Marriott hotel will focus on food and history


Liz Fabian

A Marriott Tribute historic boutique hotel featuring a ground floor restaurant and 6th floor rooftop bar is expected to open in March of 2021 at the junction of Cotton Avenue with First and Cherry streets in downtown Macon.

The developer of a new Macon Marriott hotel is whetting appetites for local foodies.

Integrity Development Partners president Rhett Holmes briefed Macon-Bibb County commissioners Tuesday on plans for the $30 million renovation of the former Willie C. Hill Annex building at the junction of Cotton Avenue and First and Cherry streets.

Because original plans for loft apartments morphed into lodging, IDP will partner with Mainsail Development Group on the 94-room hotel being designed as part of Marriott’s “Tribute Collection,” Holmes said.

Mainsail’s Epicurean Hotel in Tampa is an example of the developer’s focus on dining which will be evident in the historic boutique hotel concept for Macon, he said.

“It’s a restaurant first,” Holmes said. “They focus very heavily on the restaurant and food.”

Plans call for a restaurant and bar off the lobby on the first floor with additional outdoor seating in the triangular patch of land closest to Government Center.

A wine and coffee bar will occupy the old Bob Lewis & Associates office that was closer to Cherry Street. More outdoor seating for “grab and go” diners is included in plans for the Willie C. Hill Memorial Plaza.

Holmes said the design calls for placards denoting Hill’s accomplishments as Macon’s first black city council president and other items of historical interest placed throughout the hotel.

A rooftop bar also will be built on the 6th floor of the 11-story building which will be placed on the National Register of Historic Places upon completion, he said.

Erected in 1941, the golden brick high-rise was considered to be the tallest building built between New York and Miami after the Great Depression.

Valet parking will line Cotton Avenue at the front door of the hotel and additional spaces will be leased in the parking lot behind the Macon City Auditorium. Holmes admitted they only have about half the spaces they need at this point.

He asked commissioners to fund $400,000 – $500,000 worth of sidewalk improvements around the building to correct trip hazards and allow handicapped accessibility.

The hotel is expected to create 96 jobs and generate $13.5 million in tax revenue  in its first 10 years.

Holmes anticipates the hotel will be completed in early 2021 and officially open in March of that year.

Contact Civic Reporting Senior Fellow Liz Fabian at [email protected] or phone 478-301-2976.