Knight Plans Macon Business Incubator

By Adam Ragusea

MACON, Ga.  —   Officials from Mercer University and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation announce their initiative in the lobby of a new student loft building. (GPB News)

The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation committed Friday to a new round of funding to help revitalize the area around Mercer University in Macon.

The historic but long-struggling College Hill neighborhood near downtown has already come a long way.

Mercer president William Underwood hosted the announcement in the lobby of a stone-and-glass student loft complex so new that you can’t even see it on Google Street View.

“We’re standing in what was once a parking lot," Underwood said. "There was another parking lot across the street, and some boarded up old buildings. And look at what we have here now.”

Knight made an initial grant of $2 million in 2009 that they say has sparked $25 million in private development. And while that may have succeeded in luring many Mercer students back to the once-dead streets near campus, Underwood acknowledged there are still insufficient jobs to retain those students after graduation.


About the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation

Knight Foundation supports transformational ideas that promote quality journalism, advance media innovation, engage communities and foster the arts. We believe that democracy thrives when people and communities are informed and engaged. For more, visit