Tour Stop 13: Washington Lofts

588 Mulberry Street

Work is underway on the historic Washington Block building, which will soon be known as the Washington Lofts. Ryan Sanders of Atlanta-based Hephaestus Development is developing the building to include twelve lofts, a restaurant space, and a new live-work space. Currently, the Law Office of Paul Christian occupies one of the storefronts and will remain in the same space after completion of the project. Although Ryan is from Atlanta, he’s working with a Macon-based team to complete the project. Historic Macon Foundation is providing tax credit consultation, Bob Brown serves as the architect, Stroud and Company serves as the general contractor, and Robinson Home serves as the interior designer.

Additionally, NewTown Macon provided gap financing on this project to help meet the surging demand for lofts. Once complete, the Washington Lofts will offer a new downtown living option -studio efficient apartments. Each unit will be about 700 square feet with a full bath and kitchen.

Building’s History

Provided by Historic Macon Foundation

The Washington Block was built around 1857 on the site for the former Washington Hall Hotel, which was destroyed by fire in 1855. The new structure was built by J.M. Boardman as a commercial and office building, which can still be seen in the building’s existing layout. The ground floor appears to have been originally divided into 6 separate spaces that housed retail and office tenants. In 1889, the ground floor occupants were Duncan Real Estate Exchange, The Georgia Loan & Trust Co., Jacobs-Bowen Co. tailors, Macon Publishing Co., Macon Savings Bank, and Lamar & Lamar (which sold drugs, toiletries, cigars, and soda water). That same year there were 30 rooms listed as occupied on the upper stories. Of those 30 tenants, 19 were attorney’s offices, four were used by the US Weather Bureau, three were used by the Union Central Life Insurance Co., and four appear to have been vacant. The building stayed fully occupied until the 1970s, when the upper floors became mostly vacant. The ground floor housed a barber shop, a restaurant, and a bank. Around 2012, the third and second floors were used as small art studios for local artists, known as the Contemporary Art Exchange, which lasted until 2018.

“Owner talks about his plans for restoration of historic building in downtown Macon” by Becky Purser. Macon Telegraph. July 14, 2022.

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