Shopping Center and Hotel Planned for Georgia's Bibb County

A large shopping center and a hotel planned at Riverside Drive and Interstate 75 received zoning approval Monday.

The Macon-Bibb County Planning & Zoning Commission approved a conditional-use permit for a 694,000-square-foot retail and commercial center on a 64-acre tract at 5080 Riverside Drive.

The project will include a four-story, 73,000-square-foot hotel with 100 rooms, said Will Wilson, vice president of development for Jim Wilson & Associates Inc., a Montgomery, Ala.-based real estate company.

The property is bordered by Riverside Drive, Sheraton Court, Wesleyan Drive and New Forsyth Road in north Bibb County.

Although no tenants have been designated yet, the proposed center is expected to have two large anchor tenants, Wilson said. About 250,000 square feet of the development will be used for small shops.

The project will be a lifestyle center with "more green space and less asphalt" than is typically found at a traditional shopping center, Wilson said.

In March, Wilson said the location was not chosen as a result of Bass Pro Shops' plan to locate on Bass Road about a mile north of the proposed shopping center on Riverside Drive.

Wilson said a rendering of the project should be ready by January, and construction is expected to begin next summer.

Knight Ridder content Copyright 2005 provided via The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.