Savannah’s Starland neighborhood gets star treatment in the New York Times

From the New York Times Travel section, An Incubator for Creativity in Savannah, Ga., with emphasis added:

The Savannah that most visitors encounter is confined to the historic district between the Savannah River and the trees of Forsyth Park draped in Spanish moss. But several blocks south of the park, beyond the sun-dappled squares and canopied streets, is the increasingly vibrant Starland district. The neighborhood, whose name comes from the defunct Starland Dairy factory it surrounds, has in recent years emerged as an incubator for creativity that overflows from the nearby Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD). Now a clutch of new shops, galleries and cafes has taken root here, providing a refreshingly rough-around-the-edges respite from Savannah’s polished, Old South charm.

Here are the businesses/organizations that are briefly profiled in Ingrid K. Williams’ piece:

  • Non-Fiction Gallery
  • Graveface Records & Curiosities
  • Art Rise Savannah
  • Green Truck Pub
  • Foxy Loxy

I don’t think I’ve ever devoted a full newspaper column to the work of Art Rise, but I have mentioned the nonprofit’s efforts here on Savannah Unplugged and I have written many times in the Savannah Morning News about Desotorow Gallery, which is now part of Art Rise. I’ve profiled all those other businesses over the years in City Talk columns.

This is obviously great coverage for the Thomas Square and Metropolitan neighborhoods, which Starland unofficially straddles. The stretch from Forsyth Park to Victory Drive has been much maligned over the years, but it really is a hub of fresh, local, creative activity.

I have to note, however, that most of us who actually live in the neighborhood would never say that Foxy Loxy, Non-Fiction, or Green Truck Pub are even  in Starland. Most of use the term Starland for the blocks immediately around the old Starland Dairy.

Look for more investment in the corridor. There are a number of available properties in the Bull Street corridor from Park to Victory, and the success of these efforts bodes well for others with similar visions of a vibrant, mixed-use neighborhood. The corridor is anchored at the north end by Forsyth Park and all the businesses in the American Legion complex and at the south end by the new One West Victory. There are other thriving businesses in between those places, of course, including Back in the Day Bakery.

As the neighborhood north of Forsyth Park becomes more expensive for commercial tenants and more heavily tilted toward tourism, the neighborhood south of the park will likely absorb a variety of commercial (and residential) tenants who are crowded out of the Historic District market.

Given the upside potential that still exists, it’s great to see that the neighborhood looks so promising to an outsider’s eyes.

By the way, the piece has a couple of lovely photos by Savannah-based Rich Burkhart.