SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - If you’ve driven down Whitaker by the Tomochichi Federal Building and U.S. courthouse, you’ve likely seen the change in scenery.
What was once just a demolition site is now turning the corner and becoming construction.
Many nearby people do acknowledge the steel beams that have gone up just this week are encouraging. But they’ve felt the hit in business since the project started this spring.
The near $28 million project will allow the courts to meet current and long-term needs for security, operational efficiency, and accessibility.
But the hindered accessibility around the construction site is what shop owners nearby are really feeling when it comes to profits.
“We realize that progress needs to be made, but it is negatively affecting business,” Liquid Sands Glass Gallery Director John Miller said.
Miller says Liquid Sands has seen at least a 20 percent drop in business since York Street closed next to the construction site.
And the pinch is being felt by several of his neighbors.
“The buses, the tour buses, and the horse carriages are not coming by here either. There used to be a parade of these things, non-stop up and down this street. And since it’s started, nothing. So, it’s really cutting into business."
Part owner of Wright Square Café, Gary Hall, says he’s also noticed the drop-off of the tour-based crowd.
“They may not stop on their tour, but they may come back later in the day. It’s gone, we don’t hear that ‘We saw you this morning,’ and they come back and get coffee or chocolates or a sandwich. So, it’s taken a toll,” Hall said.
Hall says last month was particularly rough, so much so that he and his fellow business owners along this stretch are banding together Saturday night and extending their hours in hopes of making up some ground.
WTOC reached out to the project manager to see if they are still on track for the spring of 2021 deadline.
As soon as I hear back, we’ll update this story.