Brewery and Distillery trigger west side development

SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - The city of Savannah is pushing to expand the lively tourism on River Street to the west side of town. Only a handful of businesses have sprouted up in that area over the years, mostly because it's not known as the safest part of town. One of those businesses is the Ghost Coast Distillery, which celebrated its one-year anniversary today.

"I think the best way to describe the west side of town, especially Indian Street, is forgotten," says Ghost Coast Distillery owner Chris Sywassink.

Ghost Coast Distillery planted roots in an area people consider a rough side of town. Their aim is to bring in bright lights and bigger life.

"Make it to where people can stick around other than just 9-5, and really kind of live and stake their ground here on the west side," says Sywassink.

Just 100 feet down the road is the Service Brewing Company, another one of the few attractions in this part of town. They say they actually look for more run down and desolate areas like this to start their business because they know growth will follow.

Service Brewing Co. owner, Kevin Ryan, says "We have to go and find that low-cost area that has the space that we can brew and grow in."

However, more praline shops and tourist traps are the last things many down here think will benefit the city.

"Imagine if all that traffic comes from the shops. The stores. Then it will be crazy just trying to get from one location to the other," says Louie Remy, who lives in the Hue apartment complex just up the road. She says the community really just needs a safer place to live.

"More lighting and sidewalks and things like that. I don't think they're trying to say - build up the area and then I'll feel safe. I think they just want more security features," says Remy.

As one of the first things people see when they enter Savannah's historic district, a renaissance is inevitable here. If you ask folks who celebrated Ghost Coast's one-year anniversary, they'll tell you it's already begun.

Copyright 2018 WTOC. All rights reserved.