MILLEDGEVILLE — A business incubator concept grew legs this week.
Georgia College Associate Professor of Marketing Dr. Renee Fontenot presented Milledgeville City Council with a Shaw Building repurposing proposal in Tuesday’s work session. The Milledgeville-Baldwin County Community Business & Arts Development Center would provide a shared space for a wide range of activities allowing for inspiration, incubation and growth activities fostering the development of community economic potential, according to the proposal’s mission statement.
Fontenot said the public/private partnership could keep graduating students in the community, as well as put idle hands to work.
“We’ve been hit hard, and we need to find something from within to help grow those jobs,” the GC professor said. “We have idle human capital. We have individuals who we could put to work if they had the opportunities.”
The “Center” has support from various local development authorities, the three colleges and business owners. Area resident David Sinclair, who assists the Central State Hospital redevelopment efforts, said he is on board.
As acting chairman for Fox Holdings, a private offshore private property holding and development group, Sinclair wants to enter a joint venture with the City of Milledgeville to repurpose the city-owned Shaw asset.
Milledgeville Mayor Richard Bentley likes the concept.
“This is the type of idea that we need to embrace regardless of where it is,” the mayor said. “This is an asset we were fortunate to have been given.”
Fontenot said the 93,000 square foot facility’s Wayne Street location rests within major corridors making the building easily accessible.
The proposal outlines nine primary services housed at the Center such as:
• The Milledgeville Players
• a convention center
• manufacturing facilities
• a production kitchen
• art studio
• office space
• a tech hub
• classrooms, conference Room, and a library
Exciting areas like the tech hub provide savvy students usable space. Many local college students already create mobile applications.