NewTown Macon's Downtown Bond Fund Generates over $30M in Private Investment

Staff Report From Middle Georgia CEO

Wednesday, February 13th, 2019

Since 2012, NewTown Macon’s real estate loan fund has generated over $30 million in investment in downtown real estate, including $8 million of property owners’ equity. The program has invested in 20 projects, resulting in the rehabilitation of over 390,000 square feet of downtown real estate and the addition of 228 lofts to the urban core. Properties benefitting from this program have increased in value by over $38 million. In fact, surrounding property values have increased by 56%, compared to 10% in the rest of county, as a direct result of NewTown Macon’s strategic investments and use of tools like this real estate loan fund. For every $1 invested in the loan program, $5.76 is generated in matching investments.

NewTown Macon operates the $10 million real estate loan fund in partnership with Macon-Bibb County to revitalize downtown property. NewTown Macon absorbs all the costs of administering the program, at no cost to Macon-Bibb County and taxpayers. Instead, the program annually generates over $1.3 million in increased property taxes, which are then reinvested throughout Macon-Bibb County, not just the urban core.

“The pace and scale of Macon’s downtown revitalization is unprecedented and staggering, much due to our partnership with Macon-Bibb County through our real estate investments,” stated Josh Rogers, President and CEO of NewTown Macon.

The transformative revitalization efforts of NewTown Macon and the loan fund have inspired confidence in the downtown market and have resulted in a swell of interested loan applicants. Due to demand, NewTown Macon will soon issue the remaining $3.5 million of bond funds to increase the program size to $10 million. This will allow NewTown Macon to serve more loan applicants which will result in more rehabilitated properties that generate additional property tax revenue, at no expense to taxpayers.

In addition to measurable economic benefits. this loan fund preserves the unique characteristics of downtown Macon. The fund allows private investment to be made by local developers who are committed to the community and are more likely reinvest locally. The fund also offers greater access to financing to minority developers, offering greater economic opportunity to Macon’s diverse population.