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Every day, Bob Brown walks less than one mile from his office on Cherry Street in downtown Macon to the Mercer Music at Capricorn construction site. 

“I’m a couple of blocks away, so it’s just part of my daily routine,” Brown said. “People in my office don’t even ask me where I’m going. They just look at me and go, ‘Oh, Capricorn, huh?’ “

Brown, president of BTBB Inc., is the architect for the Capricorn restoration project. It’s been a labor of love that’s been in the works for several years.

“My role in the project was to first develop a program for how all the space would be used,” Brown said. “From there, I worked through different variations of design options to see how the program would fit the best within the space and develop an initial design.”

Then, “I’d have to go back to all the different groups that are using the building in all the different ways to be sure that it functioned properly, flowed properly through all the different spaces and was laid out well.”

The original Capricorn Sound Studios defined the Southern rock genre of the 1970s, birthing legends such as the Allman Brothers Band, the Marshall Tucker Band, the Charlie Daniels Band, Wet Willie, Elvin Bishop and many others. 

Building on that legacy, Mercer Music at Capricorn will reopen in December as a multi-purpose, 20,000-square-foot complex including an active recording studio, music incubator, museum, and office and co-working space.

Brown said his vision for the project was “to not mess it up.”

“It’s a great building. We wanted to restore the facades, which we are doing according to the state historic preservation standards,” he said. “Some of the buildings are earlier periods while the studio building itself is true to the 1973 era when Capricorn was at its highlight.”

A lot of work goes into keeping the architecture true to the time. 

“I’m still researching every day,” Brown said. “If I find an old photograph that gives me a key to what something might have looked like in the ’70s in the studio, I’m all over that.”

While the studio was well intact, other parts of the building, which sat vacant for many years,  have posed a challenge. 

“We’ve had a lot of structural issues,” Brown said. “There’d been water intrusion from the roof. There were rotten floors. There were some rotten structures, some fire damage that we didn’t even know about until we were able to do some demolition to open it up.”

Capricorn is different from other historic restorations Brown has worked on because of the history behind it. Brown moved to Macon in the late ’70s, so he was here while Capricorn was still a functioning studio.

“Knowing the people that were in this building, that recorded incredible music here, that’s kind of thrilling to me to be a part of,” he said. 

He said he’s excited to see Capricorn become an active studio again. 

“To actually have it function as a studio, I think, is the best thing that could ever happen here,” he said.

Capricorn is the most challenging project he’s working on, but it’s also the most fun, he said.

“I love the challenge,” Brown said. “I love being here every day, seeing what’s going on.

“Even though it doesn’t change much from one day to the next, the small changes ultimately lead up to big changes, and I just can’t wait.”