The new Otis Redding arts center could be ‘difficult to manage’

A report from county planning and zoning board staff says part of the project may conflict with its historic downtown Macon setting.

MACON, Ga. — A Bibb County council will review plans for the Otis Redding Arts Center proposed by Macon for the first time on Monday, but a report from county planning and zoning board staff says part of the project could come into conflict with its historic city center Cadre de Mâcon.

In March, Redding’s family announced their plans for the center of Cherry Street and Cotton Avenue.

They are planning a groundbreaking ceremony on September 9, the birthday of the musical legend Macon.

The Otis Redding Foundation says the two-story, 9,000-square-foot center will include lab spaces, practice rooms and studios. An outdoor amphitheater would host small performances, once or twice a month, for up to 200 people.

Their candidacy for the board of directors states that “the new center will be a central destination for educational programs for children and youth, songwriting, production, audio engineering, performance and more.”

They also say the project would bring new life to degraded downtown land.

The site has been vacant since a fire tore through a nearby building in 2018.

On Monday, the county’s design review board is due to review a certificate of suitability for the project.

Council staff are not recommending whether the project should be approved or rejected, but said the main building in Redding Center is not compatible with downtown Macon.

“Additions and new construction should never compete with nearby historic buildings,” the staff analysis states. “When this happens, the historic character of the area of ​​the area is compromised…

“It would be an exceptional and very impressive building in any other location, but not in the middle of the historic central business district.”

The board is scheduled to meet Monday at 4 p.m.

The decision would be forwarded to the Macon-Bibb Planning and Zoning Board, which could overrule its decision.

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