The Developing Story: Savannah

Ageless Southern refinement coexists with modern architecture and fast-paced business in Savannah, Ga., the largest National Historic Landmark District in the United States and a popular tourism and travel destination. Savannah comprises of more than 20 city squares, brimming with museums, churches, mansions, monuments, and forts dating back to the Revolutionary and Civil War eras.

And, it’s more than a tourist destination. Savannah is also a hub of business activity, offering lucrative opportunities for investors all over the country. The city’s location at the axis of the Savannah River and the Atlantic Ocean, as well as proximity to the Gulf Stream, is enhanced by its easy airport access. “Savannah greatly benefits from its easy access to Atlanta and Charlotte, which factors into the city’s continued growth,” explains Caroline Karlberg, vice president, Greater Atlanta area, at CBRE. Additionally, the Port of Savannah sees some of the most shipping container traffic in the United States.

Recent features on the Food Network and Travel Channel, as well as interest drawn from new development, have only strengthened Savannah’s reputation as a top tourist city defined by its accessible geography and business connections. Savannah earned recognition as the No. 3 city in the United States and Canada on the Travel + Leisure World’s Best list for 2015.

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And hotel developers are taking notice—there are 27 hotels in Savannah’s pipeline. New projects include big brands under the Marriott, Hilton, and IHG umbrellas, as well as high-end boutique projects. A Homewood Suites recently debuted along the Savannah River, the former Days Inn has been revived as Hotel Indigo, and Savannah-native Richard Kessler is preparing to renovate the retired Georgia Power Plant into a luxury hotel property.

Advancing toward 2016, Savannah’s RevPAR is expected to grow 7.5 percent, occupancy is projected to rise 0.4 percent, and average room rates are projected to increase 7.1 percent. Revenue is expected to continue to accelerate in 2017 and higher-end property occupancy is forecast to increase by 1 percent in 2016. “I think 75 percent of what is planned to happen will likely transpire,” Karlberg adds.

To view the stats on Savannah, click here.

Straight Talk on Savannah
Richard Kessler, chairman and CEO of The Kessler Enterprise and the man behind the $250 million restoration of West River Street’s historic Georgia Power Plant—which is expected to break
ground this year—shares his thoughts on what makes the property stand out.

» “Being in Savannah is fantastic. The city really has something for everybody. Whether you want an ice cream cone, to buy a piece of art, to go out on the town, or if you want to spend the night in a beautiful place, all of those things are available to you.”

» “Due to the power plant’s historic nature, we worked very closely with the city of Savannah and all of the historic committees that regulate and watch out for development.”

» “The power plant is on the largest piece of undeveloped land in any National Historic Landmark District in the United States. As we developed the property, we were sure to consult people in the community about what would make it a successful fit for the city.”

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