Urbanism blossoming near Georgia university
A Mercer University initiative, with aid from the Knight Foundation, and a class trip to confer with Richard Florida result in “The Lofts at Mercer Village.”
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With construction of “The Lofts at Mercer Village,” a more urban style of living has arrived at Mercer University in Macon, Georgia.
The $10 million mixed-use development, in Macon’s College Hill Corridor, brings to fruition an idea that was suggested in a Knight Fellows charrette in 2001 and was later advanced by Mercer undergraduates as part of a class on “The Fate of the City.”
The development, which hugs the street in traditional urban fashion, opened in August, offering three stories of loft-style apartments on top of 13,750 square feet of commercial space. Half the ground-floor space is occupied by Mercer’s bookstore, operated by Barnes & Noble. Three other businesses, two of them food-related, make up the rest of the development.
In “Anchoring ‘College Town Cool,’” in the Fall 2011 issue of The Mercerian alumni magazine, Jennifer Bucholtz reports that the idea of creating a lively, mixed-use area — to attract Mercer students and people from nearby sections of the city — took years to catch hold, and received crucial help from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.
In the 1970s and 1980s, Mercer, like many universities near declining neighborhoods, had cut itself off from its troubled surroundings — closing roads and