Lamar Drug Building to Bring More Downtown Commercial and Residential Use

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Updated: Thu, 10 Apr 2014 08:37:04 EST

After more than 10 years of vacancy, the 63,000 square foot "Old Lamar Drug" building on the 500 block of Cherry Street is expected to be converted into a mixed use of commercial and residential property by next summer.

Conway Broun is a partner with Athens based developer Millworks Holdings.  He and his business partner along with NewTown Macon representatives toured the vacant space and allowed WGXA to come inside to get a first look. While the company is in the process of finalizing the sale, Broun says there are already big plans, including developing between 35 and 40 apartment units.

"The idea is to open up the building,” Broun said. “It's an extremely long building obviously so you're limited in the number of windows as you have as it exists today."

One idea Broun adds is to restore a skylight that is now boarded up on the third floor to create an atrium. Another is to open up the windows on the side of the building facing the alley that have been boarded or bricked up over the years.

Downstairs, there are plans to have 20,000 square feet of commercial space.

"We do have a serious interest from a restaurant group and we have some serious interests from several other commercial entities," Broun said.

Nothing is finalized yet. Currently, The Wall and Fowl Play bars occupy some of the space. It's unknown if they'll stay but Broun said they’re in negotiations.

"We don't really know what's going to be there but we are trying to embrace them as well as every other business in town and downtown and create business opportunities."

NewTown Macon is working closely with the developers and hope this project will transform the entire block.

"It'll make a huge difference in the number of people living downtown and the business that want to be downtown to serve those folks," Director of Business and Real Estate Development for NewTown Macon, Hal Baskin said.

A development team including architects and engineers were in the building Tuesday devising plans. Broun expects the sale to be complete by June and construction to begin in July.  It could be done as early as February of next year.

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