As I note in my City Talk column today (Westside arena site logical extension of downtown development), there seems to be a lot of confusion in the public discourse about the actual location of the land identified a decade ago for a new arena in Savannah.
Folks keep talking about the site as if it’s way over there somewhere.
But it’s just, you know, right there on the other side of U.S. Highway 17. In the column, I note all the development that we’ve seen just east of that site over the last couple of decades.
Here’s a map that I’ve generated using the Savannah Area Geographical Information System. To the right, in purple, is the current Civic Center site, which consists of the MLK Arena, the Johnny Mercer Theatre, and various other spaces. To the left, you can see land already owned by the city outlined in blue. At the corner of Stiles and Gwinnett, there’s a beautiful old municipal building that certainly won’t be demolished. The city also owns a couple of smaller parcels across Stiles and has tried to purchase a couple of parcels just south of the blue polygon too.
Vehicular traffic might not be able to access any of that Westside land directly via Boundary Street, but the expressway is elevated, which could certainly allow access for pedestrians and bicycles.