Groundbreaking for Savannah’s new arena nears

Groundbreaking for Savannah’s new arena nears

SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - The scheduled groundbreaking for the biggest project on the City of Savannah’s plate right now - the new arena - is getting closer.

City staff is planning a two-day event to celebrate the start of what will be a two-and-a-half-year project before the arena officially opens.

​Sept. 13-14, the city will kick the project off. Friday will be mainly a formal groundbreaking. Saturday will be more for the surrounding community to enjoy.

During Thursday’s council work session, WTOC got a look at the latest renderings of the new arena from design firm Perkins & Will. Reps from the company say they are a little more than a third of the way through the design process on the estimated $165 million project.

While the majority of council was pleased with the design concepts presented, Mayor Eddie DeLoach and Alderman Tony Thomas said requests to incorporate elements of Savannah’s old Union Station weren’t included, which is something they wanted to see.

“I think this kind of debate on council is extremely healthy. I think City Council recognizes that designing a building, a facility like this, is a once-in-a-generation opportunity. They want to get it right. We all want to get it right,” said Bret Bell, Chief of Municipal Operations.

​Bell says council’s request for tweaks to the current design won’t set the project back or disrupt the timeline. There’s still site work, utility work, and foundation work to be done before they actually start vertical construction.

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