Enmarket Arena preparing for ribbon cutting, parking lots will not be complete at opening

Published: Jan. 4, 2022 at 5:21 PM EST
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SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - A multi-million dollar project that has been in the works in Savannah for years is near completion.

Next Thursday, the Enmarket Arena will open its doors to the public.

The new arena will be the anchor for an area of West Savannah known as the Canal District. The district is planned to include business like restaurants and retail, as well as living space.

City leaders describe the development of the Canal District as a partnership between city government, the community and businesses, all working together to make this area as successful as possible.

Manny Dominguez, Director of Savannah’s Office of Business Opportunity, calls development of the Canal District a huge opportunity for local businesses.

He says the time is now for those owners to reach out to his office if they’re interested in expanding into the area around the brand new Enmarket Arena.

“We want you on our radar. We want to know that you have an interest,” Dominguez said.

Dominguez points out that no businesses have staked a claim in the canal district at this time, but he expects that to start to ramp up as the district begins developing.

“It’s usually important for us to know as soon as possible so that we can keep in mind, sort of like, how do we develop policies that incentivize local businesses as much as possible.”

In addition to city policies, a federal opportunity zone blankets the Canal District.

“...that provides significant capital gains and tax incentives for investors that want to put money into businesses in that area, as well as developers that want to build in those areas.”

Dominguez calls development of the Canal District is a huge opportunity to bring amenities to the west side of downtown that have been lacking, like restaurants, healthy food options and pharmacies for example.

Dominguez adds the Canal District presents an opportunity for development of different kinds of housing options, including much-needed affordable, workforce housing.

After the ribbon cutting at the Enmarket Arena next week, Dominguez says in the coming weeks and months you’ll start to see the development of the city lot between the arena and waterworks building.

That’ll include some street art displays, the development of a playground and space for vendors like food trucks and possibly a farmers market.

When the new arena opens - the parking lots will not be finished. Savannah Mayor Van Johnson explained what the temporary solution looks like.

He says event goers who plan to park near the arena, will need to reserve a parking space in a temporary lot in advance.

They will then receive specific instructions about the route to take to that parking spot. Parking and traffic details will be sent to your email.

Mayor Johnson also says in addition, there will also be a dedicated spot for rideshares and drop-off. And a free trolley will take people from the historic district to the arena.

“We need event ticketholders to follow the directions provided if they are planning to drive and park to reduce traffic backups and neighborhood impacts,” Mayor Johnson said.

The mayor says those who live near the arena will be notified by the city about any potential traffic impacts before and after events.

The city discourages parking in residential areas during events at the arena.

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