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Savannah’s Canal District, among largest projects in city history, cleared to launch

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Multiphase venture to include new Savannah Arena and revived 1800s architecture

Plans call for juxtaposing an 1890s waterworks building with an array of new structures.
Plans call for juxtaposing an 1890s waterworks building with an array of new structures.
Images, renderings courtesy of City of Savannah, unless otherwise noted

Georgia’s oldest city is preparing to launch what could be the largest single project in its history, a multiphase venture that backers say will revive an under-appreciated canal and expand its lively tourist district west.

Expected to ultimately cost about $140 million, Savannah’s Canal District would be anchored by a new 9,000-seat arena, while an 1893 waterworks building beside the canal will be revitalized to infuse historical uniqueness, officials say. (It’s been out of commission for about eighty years.)

The site is west of Forsyth Park, not far from the city’s river-spanning Talmadge Memorial Bridge. Plans call for about 3,000 parking spaces—few of them visible at street level—and gateway bridges across the canal, connected by multi-purpose paths.

The site’s positioning west of Savannah’s historic districts.
Google Maps

Jones Lang LaSalle, the Atlanta commercial real estate firm selected by Savannah to manage development, calls the Canal District “the city’s largest undertaking to date” in a press release today.

“The arena and Canal District will attract visitors, businesses, and a new wave of investment into the neighborhoods of West Savannah,” predicts Brian Terrell, JLL’s managing director for Southeast project and development services, in the release.

The Hostess City of the South’s mayor, Eddie DeLoach, gave this optimistic input: “I look forward to turning this dream that I share with so many of our citizens into a reality ... This project is going to move Savannah forward. It’s time to start turning dirt!”

Speaking of, digital renderings for the project have been released, but an official start date for construction has yet to be announced.

The arena component, officials said, is expected to debut as early as 2021.

A portion of the site today.