Ben Carter Enterprises' Broughton St. restoration - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Ben Carter Enterprises' Broughton St. restoration will have great economic impact

SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) -

Ben Carter Enterprises' restoration of Broughton Street will generate several millions in revenue, create hundreds of new jobs and attract new tourists to coastal Georgia.

"The investment that Ben Carter is making in Savannah is tremendous. Just like the Outlet Mall of Georgia project, the restoration of storefront and restaurant space on Broughton Street will generate much needed jobs, generate tourism growth and contribute significantly to the economy of Savannah," said Trip Tollison, president of Savannah Economic Development Authority.

Ben Carter is investing $100 million to renovate more than three dozen buildings with storefronts on Broughton Street that have been neglected and/or vacant for several years. When completed, he will have helped restore the once-bustling retail corridor and reintroduced more than 225,000 square feet of retail and restaurant locations. The levels above retail will be residential, hotel, office and service oriented retail.

As a result, Ben Carter's Broughton Street project – slated to start opening between this fall and spring 2015 - is expected to generate over $100 million in new retail sales annually, based on an average sales of $500 per square foot. This level of retail expenditure will result in $7 million of needed new sales tax revenues for Georgia and Chatham County. His investment will also generate new property tax revenue and value in tax funds.

"We anticipate that Ben Carter's Broughton Street development will have significant economic impact. Bringing in a diverse group of retailers to Savannah will help attract visitors looking for a comprehensive shopping experience and will also draw more Savannah residents to live in the historic district," said Bill Hubbard, Savannah Area Chamber of Commerce president & CEO.

"I had a choice to invest in Savannah, Charleston or Jacksonville," said Ben Carter, founder of Ben Carter Enterprises. "I chose Savannah because I was captivated by its art and music scene, natural charm, historic roots and culture. I wanted to invest somewhere that we could enhance and that would appreciate my love of the local culture and experiences."

Savannah's civic and business leaders are hailing Ben Carter's commitment to enhancing the city, creating new jobs and attracting tourists.

"While Savannah's manufacturing and port-related businesses have found remarkable success in our city and county, it's tourism that keeps the retailers in business," said Walter Carson Jr., former chairman of the Savannah Economic Development Authority. "Tourists spend lots of money in Savannah, and Mr. Carter's Broughton Street projects will enhance that experience for our visitors."

Retailers leasing previously abandoned spaces will result in millions in new property taxes for Savannah.

In addition to increased revenue, the restorations and new businesses will create over 600 new jobs in the metro Savannah area plus the many construction jobs that have already been added. Carter has also committed to investing in workforce training required for the new jobs.

Carter is investing outside of the property walls as well. In a partnership with Savannah Downtown Business Association (SDBA), Broughton Street will host Savannah's Fashion Night Out, which had over 30 retailers participate last year, attracting over 5,000 pedestrians from across the United States.

In a show for his commitment to the beautification of Broughton Street, Carter has added temporary planters and sculptures while he works with the city, SDBA and others to develop a permanent plan for streetscape, enhancement, maintenance and activities.

"To see somebody come down and invest in moving this place forward — I'm thrilled," said Ruel Joyner, SDBA president.

Copyright 2014 WTOC. All rights reserved.

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