A bustling community including lofts, restaurants, retail shops and office space soon will serve as a new gateway to Mercer University’s Cecil B. Day Campus in Atlanta.
Construction of Mercer Village, a $28 million development off Flowers Road, is now underway. The first of two buildings totaling more than 151,000 square feet is expected to be completed by June 2021. The second building should be done by August 2021.
“The underlying goal is to create that same hip and cool environment that was the original goal of Mercer Village in Macon,” said Jim Daws, president of Sierra Development Group, which is responsible for both Mercer Village projects. “Mercer Village sort of transformed the Macon campus, so that’s our goal in Atlanta too.”
Apartments make up the bulk of the project. Between them, the four-story buildings will house 124 one- and two-bedroom lofts designed with the needs of graduate and professional students in mind.
All utilities will be included, as well as a technology package for television and internet. Amenities include a workout room, lounge area, pool tables, study rooms and conference rooms, Daws said. Access will be tied to residents’ Bear Cards.
“We always like to hopefully improve every project that we do to make it better than the previous project, so that’s certainly my expectations on this one too,” he said.
Daws said he envisions a sit-down restaurant with a full-service bar, similar to Amici or Margaritas in Macon, as well as some other food specialty shops, like an independent deli. The commercial stores that move in will complement the area, he said.
While the ground floor of one building will house retail, the other will have office space.
That’s where Mercer will move its mail room, bookstore, Auxiliary Services, Bursar, Registrar, Financial Planning and Admissions, said Dr. James Netherton, executive vice president for administration and finance.
The new lofts development will not only give Mercer a more noteworthy entry point but also help make the University’s graduate and professional programs more competitive, Dr. Netherton said.
“When students are searching for a college or school, they first want great programs, but then they want to know where they can live,” he said. “Having additional housing right there on the edge of campus, look what it did for Macon. It’s going to do the same thing for Atlanta.”
Previously announced plans for the construction of a new 57,000-square-foot Pharmacy and Health Sciences Building, which included renovation of an additional 26,000 square feet of space in the DuVall Building, have been delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, he said.