"138 years in the making"      
Dannenberg Apartments Nearly Ready for Residents
Written by Administrator
Wednesday, 24 July 2013 00:51
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Twenty downtown apartments in the Dannenberg Building, at the corner of Third and Poplar streets, will be ready for tenants by the end of July -- and 10 of those are already leased, developer Gene Dunwoody Sr. told Macon City Council members Tuesday.

The rest of the building’s 65 units will probably be ready by the end of August, he told the 10 council members and Mayor Robert Reichert who toured the building during a nonvoting work session.

His son and partner Gene Dunwoody Jr. said they expect the 15 studio, 32 one-bedroom and 16 two-bedroom apartments to be fully occupied by the end of the year.

Dunwoody Sr. thanked council members for approving the redirection of $1.5 million to the Dannenberg Lofts project.

“Without transferring the money that was originally allocated for Atlantic Cotton Mills, this project would not be here today,” he said.

That money, sent for recovery from the 2008 Mother’s Day tornado, was steered to the Dannenberg redevelopment after the mill building burned. The Dunwoodys said it was the last piece of financing needed for a project they’d hoped to do for 20 years.

But developers will repay that money into a revolving loan fund for redevelopment, managed by the Macon-Bibb County Urban Development Authority, Dunwoody Jr. said.

“There is zero grant money in this project,” he said. “There’s zero money that’s not going to be paid back.”

All public money involved is only a loan, except for federal tax credits, Dunwoody Jr. said.

Council members stood in the lobby, looking up into a four-story open atrium topped by a skylight, each level lined by apartment doors.

“This is great,” Councilman Ed DeFore said. “Once this takes off, I think this is really going to bring people back downtown.”

DeFore said he remembered walking with his mother from east Macon to see toys on display at Christmastime in the Dannenberg building basement 70 years ago, when it was one of the region’s best-known department stores.

Now the ground-floor windows are again filled with glass, fronting three retail spaces. One will house Kinetics gymnasium; a gym membership will be included with tenants’ rent, and discounted memberships may be available to residents of nearby apartments, Dunwoody Jr. said.

Developers are still seeking a grocery store as a second tenant, and would like a coffee shop or small restaurant to occupy the third space, he said.

The apartments, which include washer-dryer hookups, access to a parking deck and front-door security, have to compete with other complexes in town and so must be priced competitively, Dunwoody Jr. said.

“The units are priced between $600 a month and $1,800 a month,” he said.

Developers led council members and the mayor on tours of the nearly-finished apartments at the back of the building, showing that each unit is different. It’s also fully wired for Internet access, which is included in the lease, Dunwoody Jr. said.

Developers and UDA Executive Director Alex Morrison said that since work started on the Dannenberg less than a year ago, there has been increased interest in many other downtown projects.

The difficulty, he said, is that the potential projects need to attract investors from outside Macon -- there’s not enough money in town to live up to the potential, as the long wait on the Dannenberg building showed, he said.

“This project was extremely hard to finance,” Dunwoody Jr. said.

Original article - http://www.macon.com/2013/07/23/2569634/powell-landfill-improvements-coming.html

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