Mayor Jack Ellis said it was no accident Bibb County was chosen for the project.
"You know that we are a growing and thriving community," he said, directing his comments to the developers. "You know that we are the center of a very vibrant area in the state and in Middle Georgia."
Chip Cherry, president and CEO of the Greater Macon Chamber of Commerce, said the shopping center will have the quality that people seek.
"It just helps to continue to build our presence as a regional hub for that type of activity, which is an excellent position for Bibb County and Macon to be in," Cherry said.
DEVELOPERS SAY AREA HAS 'PENT-UP DEMAND' FOR RETAILERS
The midstate will attract plenty of customers to existing and proposed retail centers in Bibb County, the developer and other local officials said.
"I will tell you this: If I had more land I could fill it up," said Will Wilson, executive vice president of development for Jim Wilson & Associates Inc. "There's that much pent-up demand."
Several other developments, including a Bass Pro Shops outdoor retail store, are in various stages of development in north Bibb County.
"Bass Pro Shops helps a whole lot," said Rush, with the Jim Wilson group. "The more you draw to the region, the better. I think there is going to be good success here, and success brings more retail and more development. ... I wish we had even more property."
Jodi Dague, regional vice president of Prime Retail, which owns Macon Mall, said the company had not heard anything about Belk's and Dillard's plans. She said it wouldn't be unheard of for anchor stores at the mall to be in more than one location in the area.