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Old Posted Aug 7, 2019, 2:58 PM
DetroitMan DetroitMan is offline
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The Charm, and Challenge, of Savannah

Good article from the NYTimes discussing the rapid changes occurring in Savannah.

The Charm, and Challenge, of Savannah
By Keith Schneider
Aug. 6, 2019

New York Times

Quote:
In the annals of lengthy and arduous public reviews, a project along 54 acres of the Savannah River stands out.

The development, called Eastern Wharf, was proposed in the early 2000s; since then, it has changed ownership at least five times, altered its name once, generated two separate master plans, and appeared before the Savannah City Council for approval 58 times.

The project — a mix of residences, retail and public spaces, parking structures and recreational infrastructure, finally coming into view just beyond the moss-draped historic city center — reflects the attention.

The first residential tower, a $125 million, five-story apartment building, surrounds a parking deck. A 2,000-foot riverfront promenade stretches past a two-acre public park and rows of townhouses. The developers, Mariner Group and Regent Partners, both based in Atlanta, have agreements to start an $88 million, 193-room Thompson Hotel in the fall, and plan a $30 million, 80,000-square-foot office building. Eastern Wharf is the largest expansion of Savannah’s downtown in its 286-year history, and the first since the 1860s. Intensive public attention ensured that the project met the density, walkable scale and design ethic required by Savannah’s strict oversight.

“As a developer, it’s time-consuming and expensive,” said William W. Hubbard, president of the Savannah Area Chamber of Commerce. “As a developer, you want to move fast and save money.”

But Mr. Hubbard called Savannah “a European-style city” with Continental charm that requires preservation. “It takes a more rigorous process if the ultimate goal is to preserve our unique experience,” he said.
https://www.nytimes.com/2019/08/06/b...velopment.html

Last edited by DetroitMan; Aug 7, 2019 at 3:28 PM.
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  #2  
Old Posted Aug 7, 2019, 8:02 PM
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I would want Savannah to rise to prominence in the future. Atlanta is nice and all but it seems that Georgia and the other coastal Southeastern states ( except for Florida) are more focused on inland cities and not the coastal counterparts.

If cities like Savannah and Charleston become more attractive to millennials and other city dwellers, it would further add to the urbanization of those states.
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Old Posted Aug 8, 2019, 12:11 AM
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Originally Posted by jd3189 View Post
I would want Savannah to rise to prominence in the future. Atlanta is nice and all but it seems that Georgia and the other coastal Southeastern states ( except for Florida) are more focused on inland cities and not the coastal counterparts.
There are historical reasons for that. It was pretty hard for cities whose economies were based on slavery and decimated after the Civil War to recover; meanwhile inland cities that were less reliant on slavery became more industrial with the advent of textile mills, railroads, etc. and then better interstate connectivity and so on. But it's good that the historic port cities missed the mid-century boom that was occurring in the inland cities; otherwise, much of what makes them special places would've been destroyed in the name of "progress."

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If cities like Savannah and Charleston become more attractive to millennials and other city dwellers, it would further add to the urbanization of those states.
Charleston got to that point about a decade ago or so; it's currently one of the fastest-growing metros in the country with new construction happening everywhere. It is at an advantage compared to Savannah as it is essentially on par with SC's other sizable metros. Savannah, on the other hand, shares its state with Atlanta.

Last edited by KB0679; Aug 8, 2019 at 4:25 PM.
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Old Posted Aug 8, 2019, 1:28 PM
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Originally Posted by KB0679 View Post
Charleston got to that point about a decade ago or sobvb it's currently one of the fastest-growing metros in the country with new construction happening everywhere. It is at an advantage compared to Savannah as it is essentially on par with SC's other sizable metros. Savannah, on the other hand, shares its state with Atlanta.
Like you said, Charleston is/has been hot for quite some time. My father sent me this article on Sunday:
Charleston’s the No. 2 place in SC to secure a mortgage, study says.

Both Charleston and Savannah face a storm threat, but for Savannah that threat is one of the lowest on the entire East Coast. Charleston is elevated, but still much lower than many parts of the Gulf Coast/East Coast. Last storm was Hugo, 30 years ago.
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Old Posted Aug 8, 2019, 2:52 PM
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Charleston is booming like crazy, but it isn't urbanizing. The core is generally protected from development and quite small. It's actually an extremely sprawly metro, with very limited transit and few walkable areas.

It seems like half of Ohio and Upstate NY moved to tract homes in Charleston-area sprawlburbs. I don't quite understand the appeal, as the beaches are pretty bad, the metro is fairly expensive, and the historic center is a few blocks. I assume the job market is quite good?
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Old Posted Aug 8, 2019, 3:00 PM
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My brother lived in Charleston with his family for about 6 or so years, and the overall feeling of people who live there is that it is "heaven on earth". They love it there and they don't want to leave.

Bear in mind that the people who felt this way were typically of one demographic: white, and usually not hard core progressives/liberals.

The weather, the beaches, the charming and historic city center, the peace and quiet. It's appealing for many people; and it's not "overrun" by hordes of immigrants, etc like California is. Once again, to some people that's considered appealing.
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Old Posted Aug 8, 2019, 3:08 PM
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My brother lived in Charleston with his family for about 6 or so years, and the overall feeling of people who live there is that it is "heaven on earth". They love it there and they don't want to leave.
I've heard these sentiments too. Charlestonians seem to love their metro and consider it a paradise, kinda like San Diegans. But, unlike SD, I don't understand the appeal. Very humid, buggy climate, the ocean has murky water and weak currents, and the historic core, while beautiful, can be covered in about 20 minutes. The land is flat and swampy.

But yeah, few immigrants, I assume taxes are low, jobs probably plentiful, and everything is new and sprawly.
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Old Posted Aug 8, 2019, 3:17 PM
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I thought Kiawah/Seabrook Island beaches were pretty decent but probably not very accessible for a day trip excursion. Some of the warmest ocean water I've been in in North America since it's a pretty shallow beach. Multiple times there we also had pods of dolphins swimming <50 feet away from us.
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Old Posted Aug 8, 2019, 3:33 PM
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I like Savannah way better than Charleston. Bigger historic core, more cosmopolitan, quick and easy access to fantastic beaches on Tybee and Hilton Head islands.
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Old Posted Aug 8, 2019, 3:56 PM
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Keep Savannah Savannah. Thankfully, that's how it's been operating (even as it went through the most dangerous period for built heritage in the country) and I don't see this changing now.
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Old Posted Aug 8, 2019, 3:57 PM
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Originally Posted by uaarkson View Post
I like Savannah way better than Charleston. Bigger historic core, more cosmopolitan, quick and easy access to fantastic beaches on Tybee and Hilton Head islands.
I like that Charleston is surrounded by water on three sides, it has a more "maritime" feel than Savannah. It also seems like it is primed for higher growth with its seaport and aerospace industries. The CHS airport is also a lot larger and nicer with more flight options around the U.S., there is even a nonstop flight to London on British Airways.

I was in both earlier this summer and they seemed pretty similar in a lot of ways. Both are national treasures, our best examples of colonial architecture in a subtropical setting more similar to what you see in the Caribbean islands than in Philadelphia, NYC and Boston.
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Old Posted Aug 8, 2019, 4:00 PM
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Originally Posted by Sun Belt View Post
Both Charleston and Savannah face a storm threat, but for Savannah that threat is one of the lowest on the entire East Coast.
Even considering this, I'm not sure if historic Savannah housing would even pass my own "threat safety ratio" which is based on the threat level relative to their solidity (rather than simply on the threat level as an absolute).

(Also, last time I looked, the prices were absolutely insane anyway, so, pass.)
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Old Posted Aug 8, 2019, 4:02 PM
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Originally Posted by BG918 View Post
I was in both earlier this summer and they seemed pretty similar in a lot of ways. Both are national treasures, our best examples of colonial architecture in a subtropical setting more similar to what you see in the Caribbean islands than in Philadelphia, NYC and Boston.
But then New Orleans, which has like 5x the amount of "colonial architecture in a subtropical setting" as Charleston (or Savannah), is always near dead-last on those "best places to relocate" lists, while Charleston is always near the top. Both places are flat, swampy, not particularly diverse, large AA population, unique food & culture, bad beaches.

For whatever reason, northerners don't move to NOLA, but they're crazy for Charleston.
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Old Posted Aug 8, 2019, 4:22 PM
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Originally Posted by Crawford View Post
But then New Orleans, which has like 5x the amount of "colonial architecture in a subtropical setting" as Charleston (or Savannah), is always near dead-last on those "best places to relocate" lists, while Charleston is always near the top. Both places are flat, swampy, not particularly diverse, large AA population, unique food & culture, bad beaches.

For whatever reason, northerners don't move to NOLA, but they're crazy for Charleston.
^ The reason is obvious.

Politically, NO is a "chocolate city" while Charleston is an "old south" style city with southern gentlemen hand in hand with southern belles and all that antebellum-style southern charm.
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Old Posted Aug 8, 2019, 4:32 PM
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^ The reason is obvious.

Politically, NO is a "chocolate city" while Charleston is an "old south" style city with southern gentlemen hand in hand with southern belles and all that antebellum-style southern charm.
Maybe you're right and it's all that Gone with the Wind marketing crap. New Orleans metro is 34% AA, Charleston metro is 28% AA, not a big difference. Far more plantation/antebellum stuff around NOLA.
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Old Posted Aug 8, 2019, 4:35 PM
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Originally Posted by Crawford View Post
But then New Orleans, which has like 5x the amount of "colonial architecture in a subtropical setting" as Charleston (or Savannah), is always near dead-last on those "best places to relocate" lists, while Charleston is always near the top. Both places are flat, swampy, not particularly diverse, large AA population, unique food & culture, bad beaches.

For whatever reason, northerners don't move to NOLA, but they're crazy for Charleston.
Because Charleston and the Carolinas in general are within a day's drive back to New York. Many northerners who retired in Florida moved to the Carolinas to be closer to home/ family (half backs) and eventually, people skipped FL altogether and simply moved to NC and SC.

New Orleans is at least two days away is a major city and has a stigma associated with crime.
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Old Posted Aug 8, 2019, 4:41 PM
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Charleston is booming like crazy, but it isn't urbanizing. The core is generally protected from development and quite small. It's actually an extremely sprawly metro, with very limited transit and few walkable areas.
Yes Charleston sprawls but it is absolutely urbanizing; I'm not sure where you're getting that from. There is a ton of new development on the peninsula, particularly north of Calhoun Street along upper King and Meeting streets extending up into what's called the neck area which has traditionally been a bit more run down and industrial. It's quality urban development too; Courier Square is a good example of the type of development happening in that area.

Quote:
It seems like half of Ohio and Upstate NY moved to tract homes in Charleston-area sprawlburbs. I don't quite understand the appeal, as the beaches are pretty bad, the metro is fairly expensive, and the historic center is a few blocks. I assume the job market is quite good?
"A few blocks"? No Charleston isn't the size of Boston or Philly but the historic downtown is definitely more than a few blocks and has a great deal to offer. The beaches aren't like what can be found in South Florida but they are nice enough; there's also some good golfing to be had in the area. The cost of living is certainly increasing but overall I wouldn't characterize it as fairly expensive. Now there is the issue of Southern wages not being as competitive but the job market is overall very healthy and rapidly-growing.

I think if Savannah can manage to land a big manufacturing plant like Charleston has in recent years, it could see accelerated growth in the coming years.
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Old Posted Aug 8, 2019, 4:45 PM
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Because Charleston and the Carolinas in general are within a day's drive back to New York. Many northerners who retired in Florida moved to the Carolinas to be closer to home/ family (half backs) and eventually, people skipped FL altogether and simply moved to NC and SC.

New Orleans is at least two days away is a major city and has a stigma associated with crime.
Exactly. It's the same reason why you won't find as many Northerners in Texas compared to the larger Southeastern metros: proximity.
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Old Posted Aug 8, 2019, 4:46 PM
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I don't know about Charleston but I can tell you with firsthand experience the beaches surrounding Savannah are just as nice as anything you'd find in Florida.

As for New Orleans, it's too far from the northern states sending retirees south. It was also under water 15 years ago, and has a notorious gang problem.
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Old Posted Aug 8, 2019, 4:52 PM
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Originally Posted by KB0679 View Post
Yes Charleston sprawls but it is absolutely urbanizing; I'm not sure where you're getting that from. There is a ton of new development on the peninsula, particularly north of Calhoun Street along upper King and Meeting streets extending up into what's called the neck area which has traditionally been a bit more run down and industrial. It's quality urban development too;
I actually stay in a new construction hotel on Upper King for work. Don't find the area urban/unique at all. This is the general area:
https://www.google.com/maps/@32.7978...7i16384!8i8192

The point is that the "charming" part of Charleston is very small, geographically, and isn't growing, even as the region booms. There's maybe 1 square mile of "old" in a metro of nearly one million, and there will still be 1 square mile whether the region has 100k or 10 million.
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