What's going on with the plans to build a new arena?
In November 2013, voters renewed the
existing 1% Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax for a six-year period.
Included in the SPLOST proposal is up to $120 million for a new arena to
replace the 40-year-old Martin Luther King Jr. Arena at the Civic Center.
The heart of the plan is an extension
of downtown to the west by activating a large, mostly undeveloped area west of
West Boundary Street into a vibrant new center of activity in Savannah’s core.
We are calling it the Canal District. The Canal District will include the Arena
and associated parking areas, but it will also include a renovation of the
beautiful 1893 Savannah Water Works building into a new community facility, a
new park roughly the size of Daffin Park, playing fields, and walking trails
running along a landscaped Springfield Canal.
The Canal District will be connected to
the Historic District and surrounding neighborhoods through a new multi-modal
transportation network that will include new pedestrian walkways and trails,
bike paths, rebuilt roads, canal network, and potentially a streetcar line. To
learn more and see the vision plan, visit www.savannahga.gov/arena
The City has hired a consulting team with extensive experience with arena development to collect, analyze, understand, and compare information necessary to make critical decisions related to the arena and existing Civic Center sites. This study will determine the function, size, and program for a new arena that will serve the City and the surrounding communities.
Barrett Sports Group has also has completed more than 1,000 industry projects, including the Georgia Dome, Phillips Arena, the new Atlanta Falcons stadium, and the Gwinnett arena project.
The study is expect to be complete by the end of 2015, and will include recommendations on physical characteristics of the new arena, financial considerations, programmatic considerations, concessions operations and development opportunities around the site. These recommendations will drive key decisions, such as design.
In the meantime, six public-private advisory
subcommittees have been meeting to assist in this early phase of the arena project. Each
subcommittee consists of representatives from the local community as well as
City staff members. Subcommittees meet regularly to discuss and research topics
related to their area of focus. Recommendations in each area will be made to
the City by the subcommittees at the end of this process. The subcommittees
This is an exciting, but major, City
endeavor, which will require sustained work over a six-year period. There will
be plenty of opportunity for citizen input as we move along.