The Secret to Savannah's Surging Downtown

Lively walkable streets teeming with tourists bouncing between unique stores make Savannah's downtown the envy of many cities. But this state of affairs hasn't always been the case. Greg Bluestein looks at the secrets to Savannah's success.

Bluestein credits several factors, including "a renewed focus on the 'creative class' and Savannah College of Art & Design's unorthodox growth strategy" for sparking the city's downtown resurgence. 

By buying and restoring several vacant and aging historic buildings spread throughout the city, SCAD has created "a disconnected campus that still manages to feel unified, spreading youth and energy across the city."

Another key element in downtown's renaissance has been "a renewed emphasis on creative types, from artists to tech ventures, who call Savannah home," says Bluestein. The city has funded a non-profit called Creative Coast, helmed by Jake Hodesh, that "helps small companies push city policy, find investors and network with other local businesses, an echo effect that can help draw other creative industries to town."

"Savannah is creating its own modern identity. It's no longer Savannah 1733 – it's Savannah 2012," said Hodesh. "It's a much more laid-back, smaller version of the expensive town you're used to living in."

Thanks to Daniel Lippman

Full Story: Savannah’s surging downtown defies downturn

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