HBO filming brings crowds, business to downtown Macon

MaconStreetIt was a busy day at the Greek Corner Deli in downtown Macon.

An HBO filming crew was filming a pilot on Second Street and blocked off a good portion of it. But onlookers gathered to watch the action, as well as the production’s crew members, had no trouble pouring into the deli at the corner of Cherry Street.

“It was a good bit more than we’ve been doing,” said Rachel Duehring, who works in the deli, about the weeklong shoot. “It has increased the numbers we’ve done. It’s good for Macon, good for business, especially. It brings a lot of attention to the area.”

It’s too early to tabulate how much money the filming of the show — codenamed “Brooklyn” but reportedly an adaptation of the “Watchmen” graphic novel and movie — brought to town. Productions can generate hundreds of thousands of dollars for restaurants, hotels and other businesses.

“It definitely lends a huge economic boost to independent restaurants and shops,” said Priscilla Esser of the Macon Film Commission.

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Already, producers had spent $26,000 on permits, said Chris Floore of Macon Bibb County government affairs.

Macon has been a draw for other film and TV shows in recent years, including the Oscar-winning “I, Tonya,” at the local ice skating arena. In November 2014, 10 days of “The 5th Wave” filming brought in about $500,000. And the historic baseball stadium is a frequent draw, having hosted “42,” “Trouble with the Curve” and the series “Brockmire.”

That site recently got a $2.5 million makeover and a new team, The Macon Bacon. The mascot is named Kevin. His number is 6 degrees.

Get it? Hollywood humor on display.

“People are starting to get used to filming around town, but as you can see, it’s still something special,” Floore said in front of the Greek Corner Deli motioning to the crowds.

And who knows? If the pilot gets picked up as a series, it could lead to more filming in Macon on an ongoing basis — like the years-long boom generated in Covington by “The Vampire Diaries.”

“It would be exciting to have something regular,” Floore said.

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