A group of community and business leaders traveled to Macon earlier this year to look at the successful revitalization of the city’s downtown.

They learned hundreds of new residents moved into lofts and apartments above vacant storefronts over the past seven years, attracting dozens of new businesses, restaurants and shops to open to create a thriving downtown district, day and night.

The group returned to the Golden Isles with a strong belief downtown Brunswick has potential for a similar revitalization and a private study was funded by business leaders to determine if their instincts are correct.

The results of that study will be formally unveiled 6 p.m. on Nov. 13 at College of Coastal Georgia.

Laurie Volk of Zimmerman Volk Associates will lead the presentation, hosted by NewCity Brunswick and sponsored by Forward Brunswick, College of Coastal Georgia, and the Coastal Georgia Foundation.

“We learned about this type of data-driven housing study on our May 30 trip to Macon,” said Justin Callaway, president and CEO of NewCity Brunswick. “There, the housing study said downtown Macon could absorb 200 residential units per year. This number became a shared goal for developers, entrepreneurs, lenders and other investors in downtown Macon. We are excited to hear the results from Laurie on the 13th.”

The Coastal Georgia Foundation led discussions with business, community and local government leaders about efforts to improve the downtown Brunswick economy and quality of life. Stakeholders identified downtown housing as a key element in strengthening the city’s economic vitality.

“Through discussions among stakeholders, it became clear that if we focus on attracting residents, businesses will follow,” said Paul White, the foundation’s president & CEO.

Zimmerman Volk Associates will determine the depth and breadth of the potential market.

“The study’s findings could provide a cornerstone in the movement to reinvigorate Brunswick,” said Bert Roughton, who is helping to organize Forward Brunswick. “Understanding the demand and pace for creating new housing downtown is essential to setting priorities for the future.”

The event is open to public and anyone interested in learning about downtown redevelopment efforts is encouraged to attend. Go to coastalgeorgiafoundation.org and click on the link to register to attend the presentation.

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