Macon, GA

Mixed Feelings Among Macon Residents As Amphitheater Construction Progresses--Still No Projected Completion Date

The Veracity Report

For a couple of months, at the very beginning of 2022, there was a lot of local bluster about the new 10,000 seat, partially covered, outdoor amphitheater, currently under construction on the property of the Macon Mall.
Technical drawing of the proposed Macon AmphitheaterPhoto by Author Kurt Dillon

I was one of the roughly sixty people who attended the community feedback sessions held by the Macon-Bibb County leaders and the Macon-Bibb County Urban Development Authority on March 3rd. County administrators attended in abundance to field comments, questions, and concerns regarding the new project, designed to revitalize the area.

Located about a mile East of the I-475 Exit 3 interchange with Eisenhower Parkway in Macon, The Macon Mall has underperformed and underwhelmed the community for decades. So much so, that about two years ago, the mall's flagship department store Macy's closed its doors for good, leaving the already tenant-depleted mall even more desolate and abandoned.

As of this writing, and aside from the four-branch Armed Services recruiting center (Army, Navy, Air Force & Marines) located within the mall, the entire mall boasts only twenty-two tenants. Burlington is the only department-style store and, of the remaining twenty-one, five are restaurants, five others sell apparel, there are four gift/specialty shops, one nail spa, one dentist's office, two shoe stores, and three jewelry stores.

To be fair, the mall isn't the only retail shopping center in the area that can't seem to keep its tenants-- far from it. Particularly in the nearby semi-circular retail mecca that is Presidential Parkway, there has been an almost continuous flow of prominent retailers that have come and gone over the past ten years.

Big-box retailers such as Target and PetSmart have cut their losses and defected for greener pastures in recent years as well as countless smaller independent stores and franchises, leaving literally millions of square feet of vacant retail space sitting to rot throughout one of Macon's larger retail communities.

With a constant stream of traffic along both Eisenhower Parkway and Mercer University Drive, common sense dictates that we ask what can be done to change the trend? Is it logical, or feasible to assume the new amphitheater and its supporting infrastructure will help to revitalize the area and make it more desirable for top-tier retailers to return?
A design rendering of the proposed new Macon Amphitheater being constructed on the property of the Macon MallPhoto by Author Kurt Dillon

As a long-time resident of the area, I can attest that many people in this community hope the new performing arts venue will live up to the hype and breathe regenerative life back into this part of Macon. However, there are still some residents who view this massive new project with skepticism and trepidation.

Among the most prevalent concerns are the noise levels around the mall and the traffic burden that kind of vehicular volume is guaranteed to generate on event days.

Obviously, a 10,000-seat, open-air music venue is going to pump out some serious decibels. This is particularly true if the venue accepts and accommodates Rock and Roll or Hip Hop acts which create some of the hardest driving loud guitars and bass sounds in modern music.

Also, while Eisenhower Parkway is one of the area's larger avenues, boasting two lanes of 45mph traffic running in each direction and separated by a large grass-filled median, it's still only a divided four-lane road throughout most of its span in that area of town.

In short, the area's traffic infrastructure was never designed to accommodate the simultaneous ingress or egress of 5,000 to 6,000 vehicles. when we factor in the normal area traffic volume which can get quite heavy at certain times of the day, the potential certainly exists for serious traffic grid-locks to occur on all of the arteries surrounding the mall.

Avenues such as Mercer University Drive, Bloomfield Ave., and Eisenhower Parkway, will be particularly susceptible to these periodic overloads, making navigation for locals getting home from work quite nightmarish one would think.

At present, there are no set completion dates for the construction of the amphitheater nor any tentative dates when events might begin being held at the venue.

To the best of my knowledge, there are no existing plans to modify any of the surrounding roadways as part of the amphitheater project. That being said, it seems likely that local residents would be willing to trade some modicum of convenience for some assurance that the $44 million dollar amphitheater project really will attract top-tier franchises back into the derelict business districts around the Macon Mall.

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The Veracity Report is an independent news agency that operates as part of the Wild Orchid Media & Entertainment Network (W.O.M.E.N.). TVR focuses only on factual information so our readers can develop informed opinions based on truth, not hyperbole.

Macon, GA

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