CITY TALK: Holidays good time to discover locally owned downtown Savannah businesses

Article on Savannah Now by Bill Dawers.

There has been a lot of public angst in 2014 about the fate of the Historic District’s locally owned businesses, but many are obviously thriving. And the holidays are the perfect time to get out and discover – or rediscover – some of the small businesses that bring so much character to the city. I’d especially recommend taking advantage of several upcoming special events that bring the community together. On Thursday, Dec. 4, from 5 to 9 p.m., the Downtown Design District will host its annual Holiday Walk. According to the organization’s Facebook page, the Downtown Design District currently includes 31 businesses between Liberty Lane and Gordon Street. Many of the shops are along Whitaker Street, with more on Bull and Drayton streets. Stores that participate in the Holiday Walk typically offer a range of specials and refreshments. They also offer an eclectic mix of goods, services and professional expertise that you don’t see every day. On Friday, Dec. 5 from 5 to 9 p.m., the Wright Square Merchants host their annual Holiday Open House. Wright Square is on Bull Street just south of Broughton Street. For decades, the small storefronts on York and State streets have proven ideal for a variety of locally owned businesses. Some are relatively new, while others have become staples of the downtown landscape. City Market — which also boasts a high percentage of locally owned shops, galleries, restaurants and bars — will host its Holiday Open House on Dec. 5 from 6 to 9 p.m. More than 500 luminaria will be seen in the courtyard. And you’ll find lots of fun activities coming up next weekend on River Street. Special events are scheduled from 4 to 10 p.m. on Dec. 5 and from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Dec. 6. The Waterfront Association’s 2014 Lighted Christmas Parade, which features more than 40 entries, will begin on the west end of River Street at 5:30 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 6. The parade ends at City Market. The 2014 Grand Marshal is Stratton Leopold. It says something nice about Savannah when an acclaimed movie producer like Leopold is best known around town for his ice cream store. More transitions on tap west of MLK Given the ongoing changes to the downtown commercial landscape, it seemed only a matter of time before some other use would take over the Bridgestone/Firestone on Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard near where Broughton Street dead ends. According to an article last week in the Savannah Morning News, a hotelier has purchased the highly visible site. There are numerous existing and planned hotels along MLK and in the blocks further west, so we’ll likely see more hotels headed to that side of town. Of course, SCAD already has a major presence on MLK and on the west side of downtown. There are also important historic sites along the boulevard, like the Ships of the Sea Maritime Museum and the Coastal Heritage Society’s various Tricentennial Park sites. The new transit center is also just west of MLK. These community assets and the large tracts of under utilized land are among the reasons I’ve been so bullish over the years about the prospects for future development along the northern portions of MLK and down the hill toward the site of the planned new arena. As I’ve discussed previously, the public debate about future development has been hampered by confusion over the word “west” and by the idea that certain Savannah streets must serve as de facto dividing lines between neighborhoods. All the sites mentioned here are right on MLK or within a few minutes’ walk west of it. I encourage interested readers to spend some time wandering around these various sites so they can better see the potential. By the way, you’ll be reading soon about two new restaurants on the west side of MLK. The Grey is poised to open in the former Greyhound station on MLK just south of Broughton, in the space last occupied by Café Metropole. The newly restored Vitrolite façade has already transformed the streetscape. The French restaurant 39 Rue de Jean will be opening soon at 605 West Oglethorpe Ave. It’s attached to the massive new Embassy Suites. You’ll also be reading more soon about The Creative Coast’s Creators’ Foundry in an old industrial building on Boundary Street.
This has been a News Recap by The Creative Coast! Here we provide our news mentions and bi-weekly columns… just in case you missed them. Source: Savannah Now]]>

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