Backus Cadillac site redevelopment takes a big step forward

The not-officially-named “grocery anchor” and new commercial development on Victory Drive at the old Backus Cadillac site moved ahead today. (As I have discussed before, all indications are that the grocery store will be a Whole Foods.)

Savannah City Council signed off on the following:

Ryan Smith of Thomas & Hutton, representing S.J. Collins Enterprises Petition 13666, requesting the City declare surplus portions of two lanes and a street in order for S.J. Collins to quit-claim the property for a planned redevelopment project. The redevelopment site, also referred to as the “Backus site”, is located west of the Truman Parkway, south of Victory Drive.

The first subject property is a portion of Victory Lane (approximately 480’ long) located between Dixie Avenue on the west and terminating into Lot 107 on the east. The second subject property is a portion of Dixie Lane located between Galway Street on the south and Victory Lane on the north (approximately 278’ long). The final subject property is a portion of Limerick Street located between Victory Drive on the north and Galway Street on the south (approximately 450’ long). These right-of-ways which currently divide the proposed redevelopment site, if declared surplus and quit-claimed will allow the project to move forward in its current design.

The petition has been reviewed by Public Works and Water Resources, Sanitation, Development Services, Fire and Police. Water, sewer and stormwater lines have been identified within the requested areas referenced for surplus declaration. The City will require that non-obstructive maintenance easements are granted for these lines and/or that the lines are relocated at the petitioner’s expense. If the request to declare the property surplus is approved, the property will be quit-claimed to S.J. Collins as the adjoining property owner at fair market value. The petitioner has already gained approval from the MPC on the General Development Plan. The petitioner has also been working with Public Works and Water Resources to resolve the issue of the existing utility lines.

Recommend approval of Petition 13666 in which Ryan Smith requests the City to declare surplus the right-of-way portions of Victory Lane and Dixie Lane, and abandon and close a portion of Limerick Street in order to quit- claim the property and continue planning for the redevelopment of the old “Backus Site”. (An aerial photo is attached.)

Here’s the aerial photo that was attached to today’s Savannah City Council agenda:

Click here to see the general development plan for the site, as approved when the issue first came before the Metropolitan Planning Commission.

Whole Foods has been changing its approach to smaller markets like ours, which I have discussed here and here.

It’s great news for Savannah to see this moving ahead expeditiously, but don’t expect any official confirmation of the Whole Foods until the company’s second quarter conference call with investors over a month from now.