Kessler mega-hotel project moving forward on West River Street - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Kessler mega-hotel project moving forward on West River Street


After almost a year of silence, the two major hotel projects planned for Savannah's west end of River Street are roaring back into the news.

While one is actually in demolition mode, the other needs the city to make its dream project a reality, including a $33 million bond issue on the council agenda this week, for a parking garage.

On one side, you had the Rockbridge Developers who had a multi-million dollar hotel plan. They already have demolished the back side of the Best Western, and are moving along.

Across the street is the Kessler Project - another multi-million dollar hotel dream at the old Georgia Power Plant, which seems to be stuck in the mud, at least until this week. The Kessler Group is now asking for some help from the city on would be the most expensive development in the city's history. They’re asking the Downtown Savannah Authority for a $33 million bond issue for a parking garage with about 500 parking spaces. More than half would be leased to the Kessler Project for condos. The rest would be public parking.

City staff is recommending approving the deal, which some city leaders have supported, due to the 700 new jobs and higher salaries the project is creating. We also learned construction on the $250 million Kessler Project could start this summer.

“It will start in about three months. They have to put a bulk head wall out there so they can do underground parking,” said Tony Furnari.

We caught up with Tony Furnari, the lead contractor for Eastern Excavating, as they demolished and made way for construction of the Rockbridge Group’s neighboring $60 million, six story Williamson Street Hotel, last week.

“We started tearing down the building. It took us about three days,” he said.

Furnari’s project is coordinating with the Kessler Project on River Street's west end, due to traffic. He has impressed with both projects after 23 years of living in the area.

“You didn’t really come down to this end. You stayed on the other end,” he said.

Big money, complicated financial aspects, public private involvement; he still calls it an exciting time for Savannah.

“It's really exciting. I think it will be great,” he said. 

Below is the resolution for the parking garage bond for the Kessler hotel on the agenda for Thursday’s Savannah City Council meeting:

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