Recently, Savannah was named one of “America’s Top 10 Waterfronts” by USA Today. The city hosts over 12 million visitors each year and that number continues to grow.
Hotels are being designed by Gunn Meyerhoff Shay for both ends of River Street, though we may only see architectural renderings through 2014.
In a great location overlooking the Savannah River, the Cotton Sail is a new boutique hotel in the center of the historic district on Bay St. It is next door to the glamorous, yet funky, Bohemian Hotel. Both have rooftop patios with sweeping views. Kessler plans another River Street boutique hotel in the old Savannah Power plant.
The Brice, once the Mulberry Inn, is undergoing a major renovation to convert it into a Kimpton boutique-style hotel. The 145-room hotel in east downtown Savannah is in a historic building that once housed a stable, a cotton warehouse and later a Coca-Cola bottling plant. “The Brice boldly offers an inventive twist on the traditional lodging found throughout Savannah, with a style that is metropolitan, upscale and eclectic–a dynamic reflection of the area’s emerging social renaissance”, according to Kimpton Hotels.
The new Embassy Suites Savannah opened its doors for New Year’s in the west historic downtown district at 605 West Oglethorpe Avenue. The all-brick hotel has two-room suites and an atrium for hospitality, located at 120 W. Bryan Street, Savannah.
This year, Gulfstream will build a new 400,000-square-foot product support distribution center in Savannah. The center will accommodate more than 300 employees and approximately $900 million in parts and materials. According to Savannah Morning News, since 2006, Gulfstream has already constructed $1.2 billion in multiple expansions, and added 5,000 new jobs.
LMI Aerospace, having acquired Valent Aerostructures, will expand it’s facility to 161,000 square feet and add 100 new jobs.
The Savannah Law School will complete its historic Preservation of its 194 year old historic Candler Hospital Building, opening in October, and reopening Huntingdon St. to Forsyth Park.
The Port of Savannah is the fourth largest and fastest growing container port in the United States. An estimated 352,000 jobs statewide are related to the Savannah port. Harbor deepening will finally begin this year to allow the new super-container ships.
Savannah has just recently added Bike Share at Ellis Square, where tourists and locals can borrow a bicycle for free.
Chatham Area Transit recently completed its intermodal transit station and will be studying expansion of the River Street Streetcar this year.
The mixed-use historic reuse project at One West Victory will open in 2014 with student housing, shops, and celebrity chef Hugh Acheson’s new restaurant The Florence. Set in a restored historic ice factory, a press release notes that The Florence “will offer vegetable courses, locally caught seafood, pastas and pizza made with Double Zero flour as well as an upstairs bar, patio and rooftop biergarten.”
SCAD students will move in to the new Hue student housing being built near Talmadge Bridge.
On the south side, Market Walk Shopping Center is being completely redeveloped with a 123,600 sf Kroger Marketplace, Starbuck’s, Chipotle, and Dick’s Sporting Goods, opening in April/June. Victory Crossings shopping center will be redeveloped across from the new Whole Foods on Victory Drive.
Out in the suburbs, the 560,000 sf upscale Outlet Mall of Georgia is already under construction with four anchor stores for opening in spring, according to the developer.
Design will begin on Savannah’s new Arena, to replace the decrepit old Civic Center.
Perhaps we’ll see plans for the new Canal District on the west side with a series of green spaces, parks, and recreational areas all centering around the old historic Springfield Canal.
The city will also likely make some decisions on building the Savannah Sand Gnats a new baseball stadium, or risk losing the “B” team to Columbia, SC. Perhaps they should just wait for an “A” team.
Also, Memorial Health Hospital will build a new $28 million freestanding Children’s Hospital.
Finally, will any development happen at the Savannah River Landing, designed to extend Oglethorpe’s Savannah grid plan?