It was a watershed moment in the revitalization of one historic neighborhood Wednesday, as a private developer showed off its efforts to continue what a nonprofit started.
A decade ago, Beall's Hill was a stretch of blight separating the Mercer University campus from downtown Macon. But the university, the city, and the housing authority saw potential in the neighborhood's central location and historic architecture.
Knowing that no private developer would take the gamble—especially after the housing bust—the task of rebuilding fell to the nonprofit Historic Macon Foundation.
"Through that partnership, we've been able to build the market back and demonstrate there are a lot of people who want to live a historic, walkable integrated neighborhood,' Historic Macon executive director Josh Rogers said. "It's allowed us to recruit some private people to do speculative building again."
On Wednesday afternoon, Atlanta-based developer GreenTec Homes showed off the first two foundations of five new homes they’re building in Beall’s Hill. The company is the first out-of-town private developer to build homes in the neighborhood since revitalization efforts began.
The homes are being built with recycled and "green" materials, said GreenTec president John Damiano, including recycled steel. "If you were to take three cars and recycle those cars, they basically will build one house," Damiano said.
Crews are working from a set of architecturally appropriate designs that the Historic Macon Foundation commissioned and offered up for any developer to use, in hopes the market would finish what the nonprofit sector began.