College Hill Corridor
About the College Hill Corridor
The College Hill Corridor is two-square miles stretching from Mercer’s Macon campus to downtown. The vibrant area is pedestrian- and bike-friendly and home to local businesses, stunning parks, regular events and a diverse stock of acclaimed, historic architecture. It’s also headquarters to Macon’s revered academic institutions, like Mercer University, and economic engines like the Medical Center, Navicent Health.
The soul of the College Hill Corridor lies within its residents. What began as a class project in a Mercer classroom developed into a comprehensive, community-driven master plan that is now a nationally recognized neighborhood revitalization project.
Since 2009, the combined College Hill Corridor efforts have leveraged over $200 million in private investment, increased annual tax revenue by $1 million and bucked real estate trends with historic rehabs and newly constructed homes selling in Beall’s Hill in less than 30 days.
But one of its biggest signature successes is inspiring new, active, engaged leadership within Macon. Unlikely leaders emerged. Fresh community voices were discovered. And a culture of how to get things accomplished in community development was forever changed.
That culture proved actions spoke louder than boardroom discussions. Input from the improbable of places led to civic transformation. Community engagement – building from the public vision up – was, and remains, the key.
The College Hill Corridor Commission, an all-volunteer group representing a cross-sector of College Hill’s multiple constituents, oversees the continued work of the College Hill Corridor Master Plan, including the selection of projects to receive funding from the Knight Community Projects Fund, which was launched in 2016 and provides funding for the best ideas that continue to enhance the College Hill Corridor.
Living in the College Hill Corridor
The collection of College Hill’s most historic neighborhoods include Intown Macon, Beall’s Hill, Tattnall Heights and Huguenin Heights.
There are homes to fit every lifestyle and budget, from $60,000 rehabbed loft-style shotgun houses to fully restored $1 million mansions, all in the same block. In addition to historic homes, brand new homes are available with mortgage options available that make monthly payments less than apartment rentals.
With historic rehabs that have included $50,000 in property tax freezes and new construction that energizes the old with the new, College Hill now has some of Macon’s most sought-after residential real estate.
Up to $20,000 in down payment assistance is available for Mercer employees to purchase Beall’s Hill residences, thanks to a unique and innovative partnership with Mercer, the Historic Macon Foundation and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.
The Corridor is a hip and historic place to live, attracting people from all walks and stages of life. Thanks to roadway improvements, the area is the most walkable and bikeable area in the city. Residents of the Corridor can easily enjoy the area's architectural beauty, many parks, free events hosted throughout the year, as well as locally-owned businesses.
Among the signature features in the neighborhoods are a community garden (complete with a Hobbit Hole!), an outdoor picnic pavilion, pedestrian bridge and easy walking and biking distance to Tattnall Square Park, Mercer, Mercer Village, the Macon Dog Park, the Medical Center, Navicent Health, Downtown Macon and the National Blue Ribbon School of Excellence Alexander II Elementary and Mount de Sales Academy.
History of the College Hill Corridor Project
In 2009, the two-square-mile collection of historic neighborhoods that stretched from Mercer’s campus to Downtown Macon would take on a role that has never been done in the history of our city. With the partnership of committed, public and private stakeholders that included the University and the City of Macon, a comprehensive master plan collected from community input, and an initial $5 million in funding from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the newly branded College Hill Corridor project set off to prove that Macon’s “potential” could indeed be turned into a wildly successful reality.
In September that year, the office of the College Hill Alliance opened its doors to support the community’s charge. The College Hill Corridor Master Plan was to be implemented. And with the majority of the funding being provided in $3 million of Knight Neighborhood Challenge grants – opened to anyone who was ready to put an idea that correlated with the Master Plan into motion – it was time to get to work.
The Alliance’s time in office was limited, by design. With the community leading the charge, the office would direct the sense of urgency in completing the Master Plan and support the various projects being put into place from all areas of the Corridor.
This administrative support ranged from community-led ideas that needed proper permitting to organizing events, such as Second Sunday, and formulating event sustainability plans by developing and nurturing continued partnerships. The Alliance was also charged to assist the area in recruiting and retaining local businesses, promoting home ownership and engaging entrepreneurs and residents in the College Hill effort.
The Alliance garnered multiple awards over the course of being in office from 2009 through 2015, including one of the highest global honors in neighborhood revitalization, the International Economic Development Council’s Gold Excellence in Economic Development Award.
After six years in office – and an additional Knight Foundation grant of $2.2 million in 2012 – and with over 90 percent of the original College Hill Master Plan complete, a stronger community driving the sense of place, and a hip and historic town and gown connection found throughout Macon’s urban core, the College Alliance returned leadership of the initiative to the all-volunteer Commission. The work of College Hill continues just as it started – with the neighbors, stakeholders, participants and believers continuing to drive the game-changing effort.