Hotel Forty-Five, in downtown Macon, was originally constructed as the Bankers Insurance Building in 1923. The building was four stories tall, but when an eleven-story addition was added in 1941, it became one of the most coveted office addresses in the city. Most recently housing a variety of governmental agencies, the building had lost much of its historic character due to insensitive alterations and retrofits. Removal of these alterations returned the historic corridors to their original appearance, highlighting marble-clad walls and terrazzo floors. Variations between the first and second floors between the two eras of construction required creative problem-solving to preserve the historic character while accommodating accessibility and modern code requirements. Located on a prominent intersection where Cotton Street intersects the downtown grid at a 45-degree angle, the 94-room boutique hotel now offers accommodations to tourists and business travelers as the first hotel in downtown Macon in a generation.
The Michael L. Starr Award was created in 2020 in memory of Mike Starr, former Board Chair of the Georgia Trust and the Georgia Cities Foundation. This award honors the rehabilitation of a downtown historic building which best exemplifies the highest standards of historic rehabilitation and has a significant impact on the downtown of the city in which it is located.