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Community divided over new high-rise project in downtown Savannah

staticwire | April 2, 2024
snapshot 2024 04 01T181247.815

In a struggle between historic preservation and affordable housing, a proposed development project in Savannah’s Historic District has sparked debates and concerns among residents and city officials. The empty lot located at the intersection of East Broad and East Gwinnett streets is at the center of this controversy.

The Foram group, a prominent developer in the area, has put forth a proposal to rezone the parcel of land for a four-story apartment complex with underground parking. However, this project would involve demolishing designated affordable housing units that currently exist on the site. This move has raised questions about the city’s commitment to providing affordable housing options amidst its booming growth.

Savannah District 2 alderman, Detric Leggett, has expressed concerns about the impact of overdevelopment on the city’s unique character. He emphasized the importance of preserving communities and ensuring that affordable housing options are available for both current residents and newcomers to the area. Leggett advocated for at least 5-10% of the units in the proposed development to be designated for affordable housing.

The current occupants of the affordable housing units on the site have shared their concerns about being displaced due to the sale of the land. While some units in the new development may potentially be allocated for affordable housing, there are no guarantees in place. The lack of affordable housing options in Savannah has been a long-standing issue, and this proposed project has only intensified the conversation around this issue.

The Savannah City Council was expected to vote on the matter recently, but decided to delay the decision in order to allow for further discussions between the Metropolitan Planning Commission, neighborhood associations, and the developer. The extended deadline for these conversations highlights the complexity of balancing development interests with community needs.

This is not the first time that developers have sought to rezone this particular piece of land for an apartment complex. The previous attempt was unsuccessful, and the current proposal has reignited debates and concerns about the future of affordable housing in the city.

Moving forward, the city of Savannah faces a critical decision regarding the balance between preserving its historic charm and providing affordable housing opportunities for its residents. The outcome of this proposed development could set a precedent for future projects in the area, and the city’s ultimate decision will have lasting implications for its community and identity.

Written by staticwire

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