Savannah Council To Vote This Week On The Exhibition Grounds Development Proposal


Single and multi-family dwellings, four sound stages, green spaces and a healthy food market – these are just a few of the uses envisioned by the P3 joint venture for the former Coastal Empire Fairgrounds property.

Savannah City Manager Jay Melder recommends that council approve P3 as the development team for the 67-acre parcel at 4801 Meding St., according to a memo sent to council late last week. . The Council will vote on the recommendation at its next meeting on Thursday.

Read more:Movie studios, shops, housing: this is what could happen at the Savannah Exhibition Center site

“If approved, P3 Joint Venture Group will need to enter into a development agreement with the City of Savannah to further clarify the deliverables, timeline and requirements for this partnership,” Melder said.

“Additionally, if approved, the first step will be to engage the community surrounding the fairgrounds to establish a collaborative and partnership pathway to guide the details of the development agreement. ”

P3 is made up of several local companies, including Thomas and Hutton and GM Shay Architects. Former Georgia House representative J. Craig Gordon is one of the group’s main partners. The group also works with Aeroscope + RG Media.

According to the note, P3 is preparing to purchase the property for $ 2 million. This amount plus projected tax revenues produced a total financial value of $ 5,890,351. This score includes the purchase price plus the increase in property taxes over a 20-year period.

The city paid $ 2.9 million for the site of the fairgrounds in 2016.

Following:Savannah City Council May Vote on Future of Coastal Empire Fairgrounds Site This Month

PPP’s proposed development plan, which was presented to council and the public over the summer, includes a significant recreational component that includes a lake, indoor and outdoor sports facilities and fields, a two-acre park. and a nature and wetland reserve totaling 20 acres.

Aerial photo of the Savannah Fairgrounds

Savannah’s entertainment industry could also benefit from the plan, which provides for four sound stages of 20,000 square feet each and a creative exchange network, which would include space for electronic games, animation and vocational training in the areas. areas of entertainment, music and technology.

Other features include approximately 400 units ranging from single-family to multi-family homes, many of which would be reserved for seniors. There would also be a mix of light commercial uses on the property to include dining options and shopping.

Traffic impacts

Two other developers – Savannah Bridge Development Team and Knott Development Team – submitted development proposals to the city alongside P3 over the summer. The potential concepts were also unveiled at open house events, which drew hundreds of residents from across the city.

The Savannah Bridge and Knott concepts encompassed a wide variety of uses ranging from retail and commercial to housing, physician’s offices, recreation, and film and television production spaces.

For subscribers:Partnership, policy and projects: City of Savannah director Jay Melder talks about his first month

The three went through an evaluation phase and had to meet 10 different requirements. According to the memo, the Savannah Bridge development team and the Knott development team did not adequately meet the traffic requirements and therefore did not enter the spinoff phase.

According to figures presented at a recent council workshop, the adjacent streets around the property register just over 8,000 vehicle trips per day. The Knott plan would increase that number to 19,769; PPP at 12,946; and Savannah Bridge at 20,968.

Aerial photo of the Savannah Fairgrounds

“The traffic projections of Knott Development and the Savannah Bridge Development Group are impractical with site location constraints and will lead negatively to the detriment of surrounding neighborhoods,” the memo reads.

The P3 plan included proposed improvements to the right-of-way and streets, which would include sidewalks, street trees, and on-street parking to connect to homes and surrounding neighborhoods.

According to the memo, the area surrounding the property has significant traffic problems due to its geographic location and difficult access points due to a railway line on the west side, Lake Tatemville on the south side and the residential areas of the east and north sides.

In total, the city has received seven traffic calming requests and installed 10 speed boards on Meding Street over the past three years.

The story

Council’s vote on Thursday could end years of discussion and debate over the future of the property, which is one of the city’s largest undeveloped plots.

Following:Project Fairgrounds set to transform community, but city isn’t listening to fears, neighbors say

Initially, when purchasing the site in 2016, most of the then council advocated affordable housing for the site, as well as outdoor recreation. Housing plans were scrapped after neighboring residents and District 5 Alderman Estella Shabazz objected to the idea. The property is located in the 5th arrondissement.

In 2019, city staff recommended that council issue a request for proposals to get a nonprofit to take one to two acres for $ 1 and develop it as a recreation facility. public at the expense of the organization.

Aerial photo of the Savannah Fairgrounds

This idea again encountered opposition from residents and Shabazz.

As for Gordon, he had already started the redevelopment of the property. In 2017, the board unanimously rejected an offer by Gordon’s private investment group, Aerospace Studios, to purchase approximately 15 acres of the property to develop a film and television production studio.

Katie Nussbaum is the city and county government reporter for the Savannah Morning News. Contact her at [email protected] Twitter: KnussSMN


Sara H. Byrd

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