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Opening postponed for new arena in Savannah

Published: Jan. 11, 2022 at 10:40 AM EST|Updated: Jan. 11, 2022 at 3:38 PM EST
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SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - The City of Savannah is postponing the opening of the new Enmarket Arena, according to the mayor.

The arena was scheduled to open this week, with a ribbon cutting on Thursday.

According to the city, the decision was made as a result of supply-chain disruptions which have impacted the completion of the facility.

Earth, Wind and Fire, originally planned for Thursday, Jan. 13, is moving to Feb. 9. Riley Green, which was originally scheduled for Friday, Jan. 14, is being rescheduled to Feb. 6. Tickets will be honored for the new dates.

Mayor Johnson made a point to say the arena project is still technically on budget and on time. WTOC asked him to elaborate what he meant by on time, since the ribbon cutting is being pushed back.

“Contractually, we’re still on schedule. We did not make our optimistic completion date. We didn’t. We hoped that by December we would’ve been essentially finished, by January, we would’ve been ready to go. It didn’t happen. We own that. But contractually we are still on budget and on schedule,” Mayor Johnson said.

That contract completion date is in mid-February, according to Mayor Johnson.

“We over anticipated. We thought that we could push this into the end zone, and again, the reality of the times in which we live…just hit us in the face. COVID is real, supply chain disruptions are real, and we just could not get it done like we hoped that we would,” Mayor Johnson said.

The founder and CEO of Savannah Bee Company, what will be one of the Enmarket Arena’s newest neighbors, says he understands those factors are out of the City’s control.

“Of course they’re running into the same kind of issues the whole world is running into right now. So, I’m not surprised, I don’t blame them,” said Ted Dennard, Founder/CEO of Savannah Bee Company.

Even with the delayed opening, and surrounding road projects, Dennard says he’s excited to expand their operations, moving from their long-time headquarters on Wilmington Island to what he believes will be a new bustling area of Savannah.

“It was sort of just happenstance that we ended up there. But we are going to create our own buzz, which I think the City has said they’re happy that we’re going to be there, kind of enlivening the neighborhood. And they’re excited about this new arena because they’re the ones putting it on,” Dennard said.

Still optimism surrounding the much-anticipated opening of the Enmarket Arena. The City says all the events scheduled for next month are going on as planned.

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