Macon, Ga., Mayor Lester Miller presented an update Nov. 8 on the progress of his city's planned amphitheater to be constructed next to the Macon Mall.
He also unveiled the project's final design work, renderings, description and an animated fly through to show residents what will go up at the site.
"It is one thing to talk about a new facility and what we hope to give to our community, but it is another thing to see what people can expect," Miller explained. "The pictures of the new amphitheater are beautiful, and I know people will be amazed at what Macon-Bibb will offer in the form of outdoor entertainment."
A formal groundbreaking ceremony was held in February for the Macon-Bibb County Amphitheater. Earlier that month, the city and county announced the project's Design/Build Team, consisting of Macon's own Piedmont Construction Group, TVS, an Atlanta architectural firm, Savannah-based Stage Front, an audio-visual services company, and HGOR, an Atlanta landscape architect.
Combined, the team brings extensive experience in design/build projects, mixed-use facilities, entertainment venues, auditoriums and amphitheaters.
"We looked at this venue design from every angle — from the type of material, to how people get concessions, to where the sun will be, to how the sound will project to the audience — [in creating] an amazing experience for both the audiences and the performer," said TVS Principal Emery Leonard.
On its website, Macon-Bibb County said the amphitheater stage will be on the southeast corner of the site and face toward Rocky Creek and Mercer University Drive.
Its design calls for the amphitheater to feature three distinct seating areas: 2,500 fixed seats in a stepped seating bowl, 1,500 temporary seats on a flat floor between the fixed seats and the stage, and 6,000 lawn seats outside of the bowl and roof structure. VIP seating will be within 10 boxes between the pit and fixed seating.
The venue's two entrance plazas will have concessions, retail amenities and restrooms, according to Macon-Bibb County. Other concession and retail options also will be set up around the amphitheater, and further plans could include the construction of a full-service restaurant.
Amphitheater performers will have use of a 60-ft.-deep, 72-ft.-wide stage with 20-ft.-wide wings. A large loading dock has been designed to accommodate eight truck bays covered with a canopy to better serve the performers and crews. Once open, the venue will have separate men's and women's dressing rooms, star dressing rooms, a green room and catering area, a makeup room, and break facilities and eating areas for the behind-the-scenes crews.
New Venue Part of Larger Mall Revitalization
Early work on the amphitheater site has already begun to prepare it for construction, including utility relocation (gas lines, water lines and storm drains) as well as removing old underground structures and foundations. Following that, Macon residents can expect to see mass grading, and the pouring of concrete foundations, as well as those for the walls, over the next several weeks.
"It's great to begin seeing work on the site, to know people will be able to see our progress toward having a top-notch outdoor performance venue," Miller said.
"What we know from tours and promoters is that a venue of this size is needed in middle Georgia," added David Aiello, general manager of the Macon Centreplex Coliseum & Auditorium. "They're looking for a great place in this area that can handle this many people as a stop in their tour."
The construction of the new amphitheater is part of a larger revitalization effort surrounding the redevelopment of the Macon Mall.
In September, Miller and other leaders announced that Hull Property Group would donate the Macon Mall to the Macon-Bibb County government. In addition to the planned entertainment venue, the mall itself will be upgraded to keep its current retail stores, bring in more retail, attract new restaurants into and around the facility, move government offices to vacant spaces, and include new sporting activities, such as a large indoor pickleball center.
"We are in the center of our community," the mayor said two months ago, calling the mall property, "a place we cannot run from, a place that still needs assets, love, money, [and] respect. This area is getting ready to explode [in growth]."
The project will not cost taxpayers any added money; rather, bonds are being issued that will be repaid through current space rentals at the mall and future rents from new businesses and offices moving there. Those monies will be used to build the amphitheater, make upgrades to the Macon Mall, and allow for interior buildout to occur to attract new tenants.
The design calls for the amphitheater to feature three distinct seating areas: 2,500 fixed seats in a stepped seating bowl, 1,500 temporary seats on a flat floor between the fixed seats and the stage, and 6,000 lawn seats outside of the bowl and roof structure. (Rendering courtesy of Macon-Bibb County)
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