NewTown’s Loft Properties

At NewTown Macon, we recognize the significant need of having residents living within walking distance of downtown Macon's vibrant establishments. The proximity of residents to bars, restaurants, and retail establishments drives foot traffic, promotes local spending, and supports the growth of businesses. This vibrant live-work-play environment enhances the overall economic vitality of downtown Macon, creating a sense of community and attracting visitors and investors alike. Our loft properties play a crucial role in shaping a prosperous and interconnected downtown ecosystem.

If you are interested in renting a loft, please call 478-722-9909 to schedule a tour.


Johnson Lofts

555 Poplar Street

In 2016, NewTown Macon completed a $2 million rehabilitation of the historic building at 555 Poplar Street as a comprehensive exhibition of our mission in action. The property includes NewTown’s headquarters on the first floor. The top two floors contain twelve luxury apartments, known as Johnson Lofts. Rents from The Office and Johnson Lofts support NewTown’s mission.


The building at 555 Poplar Street was constructed in 1908 as an expansion for Johnson Brothers (from which the lofts take their name), the oldest furniture company in Macon at the time. In 1914, the Johnson Brothers moved to a larger space, and the S.S. Parmalee Company, a wagon maker, began using 555 Poplar Street as storage for their workshop at 559 Poplar Street. P.D. Willingham Furniture Company is listed at 553-555 Poplar Street in 1917, and the Macon Chalmers Company, a truck dealer, occupied the space in 1918. By 1920, A.S. Hatcher Company had moved into 553-555 Poplar Street to sell automobiles, and in 1922, the Carter Farm Implement and Motor Company had moved into the building. 

Although the Carter store changed into a hardware and supply company by 1925 and the Georgia Market House moved into one side of the building in 1934, the Carter company stayed in the building until 1937. In 1939 and 1940, Farmer’s Hardware and Supply operated from the structure, and from 1941 until 1950, Coley Hardware and Paint used the space. From 1951 until 1961, 555 Poplar Street returned to its original use with Avery Johnson Furniture occupying the space. In 1962, Avery Johnson swapped to selling only TVs and radios, and the store closed its Poplar Street location after 1963. The building was vacant for the next twenty years, before being used as a furniture store again by Hunt-Ragan and Marshall furniture companies between 1985 and 1990. 555 Poplar Street was vacant again until 2007 when Goodwill moved in for two years. Its last vacancy lasted until 2014 when NewTown Macon purchased the project. The building is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.


Spearman Lofts


This historic building was built as the Plaza Hotel in 1904. The building was last renovated in 1959, when the ground floor was redeveloped to incorporate two storefronts and the second and third floors were renovated for office space. The fourth floor, however, had never been updated or reused since serving as a hotel. NewTown began rehabilitating the building in 2017 and completed construction in early 2019. NewTown’s rehabilitation of the property includes 12 loft apartments on the upper three floors, including studios, one- and two-bedroom units, all with amazing views of downtown. The fourth-floor rooms are the most unique with a historic skylight in the lobby, original molding, and unique unit layouts.

520 Mulberry Street


In 2019, NewTown Macon completed a $2.7 million rehabilitation of the historic building at 520 Mulberry Street to further our organizational goal of increasing the number of downtown residents. The property includes twelve luxury lofts and two commercial storefronts that are homes to Oldham Opticians and Harp & Bowl La Bistro. Rents from Spearman Lofts and commercial tenants support NewTown’s mission.



Barfield Lofts

596 Cherry Street

In partnership with a private local developer, NewTown completed the rehabilitation of 596 Cherry Street in 2021. The project features four loft units and three micro-storefronts, which provide a lower threshold for potential retailers looking to open their business downtown. This historic building is located in one of NewTown Macon’s target blocks and sits on a high-traffic downtown corner. The building sat vacant for 14 years prior to NewTown’s investment, creating a blighted gateway to downtown. Now, this prominent corner is welcoming and active once again. This project helps further NewTown Macon’s mission by adding more residential units to the downtown market, creating more affordable storefronts, and decreasing the overall vacancy of NewTown Macon’s target blocks.


596 Cherry St. is represented in the 1860 City Macon Directory, the earliest directory available for the area, as the location of Joseph Clisby’s Georgia Telegraph newspaper. Clisby, born in Medford, Massachusetts in 1818, purchased the Georgia Telegraph in 1855. As the owner of the newspaper, Clisby served as editor and transitioned the paper from a weekly periodical to a daily paper in 1860. Health issues resulted in Clisby selling the paper in 1864 to William A. Reid, although he returned as editor in 1868 and served in that capacity until 1881. Clisby died in 1885. 596 Cherry Street served as the location of the various incarnations of the paper, whose name changes included the Daily Telegraph, the Macon Telegraph, and the Telegraph and Messenger, from at least 1860 to around 1880.  

The building’s next occupant was Jacob H. Hertz’s clothing and furnishing store and his clothing manufacturing company, the Eagle Shirt Factory. These businesses were located at the building from 1884 to 1895, although Clisby, and later his family, appear to still own the building during this period. Clisby’s son, Joseph W. Clisby, operated a series of shoe stores at the building from 1896 to around 1915; from 1896 to 1903, the shoe store was owned by the partnership of Clisby and William McKay Jr. before Clisby struck out on his own. By 1917 the building was being utilized by the Bibb National Bank of Macon before being used again as a shoe store owned by Thomas DeWitt McAn in 1927. 

McAn’s shoe store, called Thom McAn, operated there from 1927 to 1932 before being joined by Louis Kell’s Marilyn Slipper Shop. McAn’s shoe store operated there until at least 1950, while the Kell’s shoe store remained until around 1960. By 1965 the building was occupied by Walters Jewel Box, a jewelry store, and Pearle Vision Center, an optician’s office and glasses store. Around this period the windows on the first floor of the side elevation were blocked in to install a billboard for Pearle Vision on the side of the building. The building was used by various jewelry stores in one space and opticians/optometrists/optical goods stores in the other space until 2000. The building has been vacant since at least 2003. 

The rear commercial space appears to have been built around 1905, when cobbler John Schelling is listed in that year’s directory as operating his business there. The space was utilized by a variety of commercial occupants throughout its history: cobblers, real estate and insurance offices, a jewelry shop, a soda stand, and a photography studio, to name a few. The space appears to have been largely vacant from the 1960s until today, with the exception of a temporary art studio in the mid-1990s. 


Willingham Building


461 Third Street was built between 1896 and 1897 as the wholesale and retail sales location for the Willingham Sash and Door Co. The company, whose sales showroom was located on Cherry Street prior to this location, also operated a production factory for its products on the corner of Seventh and Cherry Streets –the business is still in operation to this day. Willingham Sash and Door Co. was, as it is today, a family business. During the period the sales location was moved to Third Street, Osgood P. Willingham served as the company president and his son, Osgood P. Willingham Jr., served as the secretary and treasurer. Willingham Sash and Door Co. stayed at 461 Third Street until 1955. 

587 Cherry Street

The Willingham Building was redeveloped in 2021 in tandem with the Bibb Theatre, under the ownership and management of NewTown Macon and the Peyton Anderson Foundation. This adjacent structure was built around 1896 for Willingham Sash and Door Company, a company which is still in operation in the downtown industrial district on Seventh Street. Decades of neglect led to the collapse of all the interior floors into the basement, leaving only the shell of exterior brick walls. But fear not - this once neglected building is now a historic gem with nine loft apartments and one 1,700 square foot retail storefront. NewTown Macon’s coworking space currently occupies the storefront in the Willingham Building. 

In 1956 the building was occupied by three businesses (presumably one on each floor) owned by Arthur Lewis: The Junior Bootery Store (a children's shoe and playground equipment store), the Bibb Service Co. (a garbage collection business that appears to have transitioned into a real estate loan business in 1962), and Lewis' law office. Lewis' business operated at the building until the late 1960s. The building was occupied by a secession of sporting goods stores through the 1970s into the mid-1980s (presumably one of these was responsible for the existing contemporary stairway and floor cut out), at which point the building was used by Goodwill Industries for two years (1986 & 1987). The building has been vacant since 1988.


Lee Building

536 Third Street

In April 2019, NewTown entered into a joint venture partnership with Kunj Construction to purchase and rehab the historic Lee Building. The Lee Building was built in 1917 and was home to Karsten & Denson Hardware until the store relocated to Ingleside Village in 2008. In 2022, the building reopened with 31 lofts and 3 storefronts, inching NewTown Macon closer to our 5-year goal of adding 600 completed lofts units by 2027. The building features skylights, original hardwood floors, exposed brick, and beautiful wooden beams, and has a lovely courtyard. 


536 Third Street, known as the Lee Building, was constructed in 1914 for Dr. W.G. Lee as part of a Third Street "building boom" which saw substantial development in the area between 1912 and 1914. Over a dozen structures were built on the four-block section of Third Street between Poplar and Oglethorpe Streets during this time period. Lee, a local banker, businessman, and city alderman, was described in a 1914 Macon Telegraph article as "the man who made Third Street". Once the Lee Building was completed in 1914, W.T. Lee coordinated the construction of ten buildings on Third Street in an eight-year period. 

The Lee Building was designed to house stores on the first floor with offices above on the second floor. A variety of retail businesses occupied the first-floor commercial spaces until the 1940s, including a paint store, a hardware store, a plumbing supply business, a fertilizer company and a manufacturer of marble and granite monuments. The second-floor spaces served as the offices of a furrier, a loan company, and a real estate company, among others. The rear, eastern portion of the building appears to have been built at the same time as the western portion of the building. The rear space housed an automobile service facility on the first floor and in the basement and a machine warehouse on the second floor until some point prior to 1939, when the space is listed as a feed warehouse on that year's Sanborn map.

In 1930, Lee moved his office to the second floor. For at least 20 years, between 1940 and 1960, the second floor of the Lee building was home to the offices of the Boy Scouts of America Central Georgia Council. In 1940, the Karsten & Denson Company, a wholesale and retail hardware, feed, and seed business, relocated from across Third Street to the first floor of the Lee Building, occupying the entire first floor. Karsten & Denson remained at the 536 Third Street location for over 65 years before relocating outside the downtown area around 2005.


Offices at 544 Mulberry


544 Mulberry St., known today as the American Federal Building, was constructed in 1911. The building was originally built for the Georgia Life Insurance Company and was designed by prominent Macon architect Neel Reid.

544 Mulberry Street

Since 2018, NewTown Macon has acquired 21 office units and four floors in the American Federal Building. Designed by Neel Reid, the American Federal Building is one of the most architecturally significant and prominent buildings in downtown’s core. As preservationists at heart, NewTown jumped at the opportunity to purchase and rehabilitate several floors and offices of this iconic building. Additionally, these investments allow NewTown to service a growing need for small suite office space in the downtown area. Staffers have been able to connect several entrepreneurs and loan clients with office space in the building so that they can grow and scale their businesses. 


446 Cotton Ave

Thanks to a donation from a local developer, NewTown rehabilitated the building at 446 Cotton Avenue. The building features one micro-loft unit and one micro-storefront occupied by the boutique Chic Culture Inc. This property offers the opportunity for a live/work space and is positioned in a block that has had many exciting changes, such as the opening of Hotel Forty Five and the soon-to-be Otis Redding Center for the Arts.

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