Old Natalia’s restaurant, stately bank to be razed for new c-store

Macon-Bibb P&Z OKs 2 new restaurants, tire store, Bobcat dealer and senior living complex


Liz Fabian

For 26 years, Natalia’s restaurant was a fine dining location in the Riverstreet Corners shopping center. It and the old bank building on the left will be torn down for a new Quik Trip convenience store near the Interstate 75 South entrance and exit ramps.

A cherished Macon location for marriage proposals and celebrations will be meeting the wrecking ball.

A new Quik Trip convenience store is planned for the Riverstreet Corners shopping center that is home to the old Natalia’s fine dining establishment and the former Bank of America building.

At Monday’s Macon-Bibb County Planning and Zoning Commission hearing, Michael Burk of Quik Trip applied for a variance for the store’s new 100-foot-tall sign.

Burk explained the company will tear down the brick bank building with its weathervaned-cupola and demolish the restaurant that closed in 2010 after 26 years. Natalia’s moved to Providence Village on Bass Road more than 10 years ago.

The shopping center, which currently houses a Red Roof Inn and branch of the U.S. Post Office, is zoned Highway Commercial District which would allow for construction of the nearly 5,000-square-foot store.

West Macon gets 2 new eateries, tire store

Macon-Bibb County P&Z held its first in-person meeting Monday after several months of online hearings due to COVID-19. (Liz Fabian)

Last year’s opening of the Publix supermarket at 5581 Thomaston Road has created a bit of a business boom in west Macon.

Two new restaurants are going up at the corner of Heath and Thomaston roads, across from the grocery store.

Tobesofkee Crossing LLC plans to tear down the old BB&T bank building and build a new Popeye’s restaurant and a smaller, adjacent eatery.

“Many banks have looked at it and decided that’s not the use,” said attorney David Hollingsworth, who was representing the applicant at the hearing.

According to the application, Popeye’s has signed a letter of intent for the 28-seat, 1,900-square-foot building with a drive-thru. The second building, which is farther away from Heath Road, will be 1,500 square feet with 15 seats.

P&Z also approved a new tire store on the outparcel of the Publix shopping center that is closest to Tucker Road.

Commissioners granted Mavis Tires & Brakes a parking variance for their new 7,000-square-foot-store at 5591 Thomaston Road because the layout would only accommodate 28 spaces, not the required 36.

The store plans to hire eight employees when it opens with eight installation bays and a showroom.

Allen Shackelford, of Tobesofkee Crossing, did not oppose the new business, but asked commissioners to consider the current look of surrounding businesses and add a stipulation that Mavis use appropriate brick or stucco to match.

“We’re not talking about a lot of change,” P&Z executive director Jim Thomas noted. “Most of the store is glass with roll-up doors.”

Once commissioners were assured the redesign would not be a deal-breaker, they voted to have the applicant work with staff to find a suitable material to blend in with other businesses while maintaining Mavis’ trademark design and colors.

Senior Living for northwest Macon

In-Fill Housing Inc.’s plans call for a J-shaped building with 10 one-bedroom apartments and 50 two-bedroom units on Peake Road North behind Lowe’s on Zebulon Road in northwest Macon. (In-Fill Inc. application)

A new three-story senior living community is planned off Zebulon Road in northwest Macon.

A non-profit arm of the Macon Housing Authority, In-Fill Housing Inc., is applying for Low Income Housing Tax Credits for the age-restricted complex for those at least 55 years old.

P&Z commissioners granted a conditional use for the planned development to go up on about 3.5 acres at 7081 Peake Road North, behind the Lowe’s near Walmart.

They also granted a parking variance for the project to allow 60 spaces instead of the 90 that would typically be mandated to have 1.5 spaces for each unit.

Kathleen Mathews of In-Fill Housing Inc. said the one-to-one ratio of spaces per units has worked at other Macon Housing Authority properties.

“Many of our seniors don’t have transportation, so we think it’s very appropriate for the site,” Mathews said.

If the Georgia Department of Community Affairs approves the tax credits, construction could begin in late 2022 with the property opening by early 2023, Mathews said.

Mercer enhancing Macon gateway with new sign

Macon-Bibb County Planning and Zoning commissioners approved a variance for a wrought iron fence, brick columns and elaborate signage to replace chain link on Little Richard Penniman Boulevard from College Street to nearly 400 feet to the east. (Liz Fabian)

Little Richard Penniman Boulevard will be getting an upgrade as Mercer University installs new fencing and signage.

P&Z granted a variance to allow 385 feet of galvanized chain link be replaced with construction of a new wrought iron fence and brick columns “consistent with existing fencing throughout the campus.”

Mercer also will build an elaborate brick monument sign to denote the College Street entrance. The design will mimic others on the Tattnall Square side of campus that have a brick base and  metal sculpture of the college’s iconic spire.

Other items:

265 Orange Street – Exterior modifications approved for window replacement

4280 Interstate Drive – Conditional use granted for a Bobcat of Macon dealership and repair center

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