On Thursday, March 21, NewTown Macon celebrated the conclusion of its tenth cohort of the Developer’s Academy. Launched with the vision of empowering local talent to lead downtown’s redevelopment efforts in 2015, the Developer’s Academy has equipped aspiring real estate developers with the skills and knowledge needed to create professional quality project proposals for investment property.

When NewTown was founded in 1996, 70% of downtown was vacant and abandoned. NewTown Macon recognized the critical need to train and empower locals to become real estate developers and created the Developer’s Academy to provide Maconites with the skills to renovate downtown’s historic buildings. Since Developer’s Academy’s inception, the course curriculum has evolved to include development of new construction projects but has continued to focus on training Maconites and Middle Georgians, thereby ensuring that the community retains control over the future of downtown Macon. Today, 84% of downtown buildings have been renovated and returned to their best and highest use.

“Developer’s Academy is one of the ways we live out our core values,” said Josh Rogers, President & CEO of NewTown Macon. “By prioritizing locals and equipping them with the know-how to make a good investment, we’re ensuring that downtown continues to thrive and local developers spread the investment to every neighborhood in Macon.”  

Over the course of this winter’s Developer’s Academy, participants received comprehensive training in property development, including how to create a project pro forma. At the culmination of their training, participants engaged in a pitch contest, where they presented their plans for redeveloping selected properties. Participants graduated from the course with the skills needed to purchase and develop property and knowledge of financing opportunities available through NewTown Macon.

Graduates of this year’s cohort include Kaylyn Benson, Brandon Blocker, Eric Braswell, Maiesha Clark, Lachionte’ Culpepper, Peter Griffin, Tyrone Hill, Tinia Holmes, Jenny Howell, Fernandez Jordan, Hans Jules, Jaé Madison, Teddy Madison, J.R. Olive, Shavon Price, Analyce Roberts, Keondra Sanford, Stephanie Stephens-Lanham, Fredrick Sterdivant, Wimberly Treadwell, Todd Ussery, Clinton Watson, Aaron Williams, and Marina Wray.

“The success of the Developer’s Academy underscores the remarkable potential of our local community to drive downtown Macon’s revitalization,” said Ricardo Cordew, NewTown Macon’s Business Consultant. “By equipping our residents with the skills and resources needed to become real estate developers, we are fostering a new generation of leaders who will shape the future of our city.”

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