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Thursday, May 23, 2013 - 11:43am

New Life For Vacant Macon Highrise

A Toronto developer wants to breath new life into one of downtown Macon's most prominent blights.

Rupinder Sangha told the Macon-Bibb Urban Development Authority Thursday he's working to buy the empty Ramada Plaza tower and relaunch it as a hotel under one of the Radisson brands.

Sangha will have help, said Urban Development Authority executive director Alex Morrison.

"The Urban Development Authority has endorsed this developer's project and has agreed to issue up to $9 million in bonds, which would serve as a loan to the developer to cover his acquisition and the rehabilitation of this building," Morrison said.

The iconic downtown highrise started as a Hilton in 1970, and has been vacant since February, 2011.

The hotel will bring 200 to 300 permanent jobs, Morrison predicted, and could boost convention traffic. "When this hotel was last in place it was doing $6 million in gross receipts, so we're talking about a huge economic impact on downtown," he said.