foot trails

Here’s what the future of the Savannah fairground site might look like

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Any doubts that Savannah residents were invested in the future development of the former Coastal Empire Fair property were put to rest this week. Three potential concepts for the property unveiled at two open house events drew hundreds of residents from around the city. 

The city purchased the 67-acre parcel at 4801 Meding St., which is in the fifth district, for $2.9 million in 2016. Unlike other major projects, the public was given the chance to view the concepts before they were formally presented to the Savannah City Council.

Aerial photo of the Savannah Fairgrounds

“These are still concepts and whatever is done still has to go through the development and review process,” Mayor Van Johnson told council Thursday during a special called workshop to view the proposals

“To that end, the city staff is still in the middle of their due diligence and so they have to weigh the technical and financial components, so they still do not have a recommendation for us.”

Council will not vote on the issue until that recommendation from staff is finalized. 

Three development groups presented concepts for the former Coastal Empire Fairgrounds to Savannah City Council this week.

Savannah Bridge Development Team 

Touted as a “live, work, play, eat and learn” project, the initial concept by the Savannah Bridge Development Team is broken into eight sites. 

Site one is proposed to be used for parking, but the team is open to other community-oriented uses depending on stakeholder feedback. The second site could feature a specialty grocer, food hall and community greenhouse space. 

Sites three, four, five and six would be a mixed-use complexes featuring retail, a health clinic, offices, food and beverage options, apartments, townhomes, classrooms, financial services and parking. 

Touted as a ‘live, work, play, eat and learn’ project, the initial concept by the Savannah Bridge Development Team is broken into eight sites. The plan includes housing, a movie studio, retail and food and beverage.

The group is exploring possible tenants for sites three and four, to include JC Lewis Health Systems and the Manchester Bidwell School. Sites five and six would be developed as subsequent phases and be dependent on market demand. 

Site seven would be dedicated to commercial development, such as a movie studio and office space. The site could accommodate two office buildings and a movie studio consisting of three soundstages, warehouse and production space. 

The final site would be a community-focused space and would be developed in conjunction with the city. The team put forth the ideas of a community recreation center, ice hockey training center and additional athletic fields. 

The city purchased the 67-acre parcel at 4801 Meding St., which is in the fifth district, for $2.9 million in 2016. Developers presented concepts for the site earlier this week.

The core development team behind Savannah Bridge Development Team is made up of Savannah-based Polote Corp., Summit Smith Development and QXI Development. The team aims to bridge the “economic gap” in a number of ways.

“We took this as our mission to bridge the fairgrounds district and its surrounding neighborhoods — Tatemville, Liberty City, all of those areas,” said Benjamin Polote Jr. 

“But in doing that we also realized that this was an opportunity to bridge the economic gap, to bridge the gap between economic disparity and economic growth and r
evitalization that this project is bound to have.”

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