New SCAD student housing high-rise coming to west River Street

Published: Jan. 25, 2022 at 5:31 PM EST
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SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - Savannah’s riverfront skyline will look a lot different by the end of next year.

The Savannah College of Art and Design bought property on west River Street and is now starting the work on what will become a 17-story student resident hall.

Since opening in Savannah five years ago, Ghost Coast Distillery has seen its fair share of growth in the surrounding area. But what’s slated to go right across the street will by far be its tallest neighbor yet.

“I think gone are the days of seeing the vessels come up and down the river and, I mean, change happens,” Ghost Coast Distillery General Manager Chris Sywassink said.

Sywassink and the business he co-founded are now just about surrounded by high-end resident buildings. When just five years ago, there wasn’t much else around other than a brand new Ghost Coast Distillery and a few other businesses down the street.

Late last year, SCAD got final approval to issue $159 million in bonds to pay for three projects, two of which are in Savannah. One is a 17-story student living hall with just over 800 beds, and it will sit right across the street from Ghost Coast.

The other Savannah project for SCAD is the renovation and improvements to the old Chatham Apartments on Abercorn.

Sywassink says as of right now, he doesn’t see any immediate impact to his distillery once the massive dorm is finished and opened, which is projected to be next fall. But in the not so distant future, he estimates five to seven years, rising property value may force their hand to find cheaper land for Ghost Coast to operate.

“Now, you’re looking at two, now a third major construction project that’s going to change the landscape of Indian Street and River Street on this side of downtown Savannah. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that property taxes are going to go up,” Sywassink said.

A representative of SCAD says the school is still finalizing the plans for the new dorm, and will be releasing information in the coming weeks.

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