BiS: - Business news for the creative coast.

Eric Curl

‘Smart’ traffic signals deployed in Savannah

The local traffic signal program is the first of its kind in the state outside metro Atlanta, according to officials. In addition to Victory, signals have also been upgraded on Ogeechee Road and Chatham Parkway, for a total of 52 intersections, and other busy Savannah corridors may receive similar upgrades, according to officials.

AECOM Senior Technician Mike DiSanza described on Wednesday how a new traffic signal system installed by GDOT can improve vehicle flow on Victory Drive. (Eric Curl/Savannah Morning News)

Savannah fairgrounds site eyed for film production complex

The former Coastal Empire Fair site may be transitioning from funnel cakes to films. A state lawmaker is trying to convince city officials to sell his private investment group about 15 acres of the 67-acre site along Meding Street to develop as a production complex for movies and television.

This hangar at the former Coastal Empire Fair site would be renovated for use as a production stage as part of a plan to develop the property as a filming complex. (Eric Curl/Savannah Morning News)

Grocery store planned for former Johnny Harris site

A new plan for the former Johnny Harris site along Victory Drive is being developed after previous plans to develop the property and surrounding area were abandoned. The new developer’s site plan consists of a 35,000-square-foot “neighborhood” grocery store and is less than half the size of the previous 11-acre development site that was bounded by Victory, Wicklow Street, Kerry Street and Dixie Avenue, according to the developer’s attorney, Robert McCorkle, III.

FILE - The sign for the old Johnny Harris restaurant, which closed May 28 of last year.

City may spend $2.2M on long-dormant Savannah River Landing development

The Savannah River Landing development has sat dormant since the recession halted plans to develop the 54-acre site north of President Street as an eastern extension of the Historic District.

The Savannah River Landing development has sat dormant since the “Great Recession” halted plans to develop the 54-acre site north of President Street as an eastern extension of the Historic District. (Eric Curl/Savannah Morning News)

Officials OK height for West Elm’s Forsyth Park hotel

The revised design of the proposed West Elm hotel across from Forsyth Park got an initial OK from the Savannah Historic District Board of Review on Wednesday.
A rendering of the West Elm Hotel. (Courtesy of Jerome Elder)

Breast cancer efforts raise awareness, funds for mammograms

The annual Paint the Town Pink breast cancer awareness initiative was celebrated by officials behind the effort as the 2016 campaign was brought to an end Monday morning with a ceremony at the Nancy N. and J.C. Lewis Cancer & Research Pavilion at St. Joseph’s/Candler.

Savannah Morning News Publisher Michael Traynor, left, presents St. Joseph's/Candler President and CEO Paul Hinchey with a check for the hospitals mammography fund at the Paint the Town Pink wrap up held at the lobby of the Nancy N. and J.C. Lewis Cancer & Research Pavilion. (Steve Bisson/Savannah Morning News)

Savannah denies hotel developers, considers moratorium on structures in Historic District

The Savannah City Council denied two zoning requests on Thursday that two hotel developers were depending on, in addition to directing the city attorney to determine whether a moratorium can be placed on new hotel projects in the Historic District.

Fate of five-story Drayton Street hotel in Savannah City Council's hands

The fate of a planned hotel across from Forsyth Park could come down to semantics. It is up to the Savannah City Council to decide if the planned five-story hotel at Drayton and East Huntingdon streets can move forward as proposed.

This rendering shows the West Elm hotel planned for 607 Drayton St. across from Forsyth Park. The Historic Review Board approved the height and mass of the five-story building in July, but the Savannah Zoning Board of Appeals overturned the approval last week. (Gunn Meyerhoff Shay Architects)

Savannah's food truck requirements go beyond four-wheeled grill

The city’s recent approval of a food truck ordinance is being praised by budding entrepreneurs and lovers of curbside cuisine. But there are still some steps that need to be taken before Savannah’s appetite for roaming restaurants is satisfied.

Owner and Chef Brian Maher offers a Sazon Flounder and Blueberry Jalapeno Salsa and Crema Mexicana from his food truck. (Steve Bisson/Savannah Morning News)

Savannah OKs food trucks, new alcohol rules

Many business owners, food lovers and those seeking more entertainment options in Savannah are ready to rejoice as the City Council finally adopted two long-awaited resolutions Thursday.

FILE - Hungry passerbys wait in lines spanning the width of Emmet Park at the Savannah Food Truck Festival Sunday. (Will Peebles/Savannah Morning News)

Developer Kessler touts, defends Savannah W. River Street plans

Pipe organ music could become commonplace during lunch hour where Kessler is planning a $250 million transformation of an abandoned industrial zone on River Street’s west end.

This rendering shows the proposed Plant Riverside development being planned for an abandoned industrial zone on West River Street. Courtesy The Kessler Collection.

Savannah's Alligator Soul owner determined to reopen after flood

Instead of making reservations on Friday, owner Maureen Craig’s assistant, Jackie Noel, was busy calling people to cancel their dinner dates at Alligator Soul.

City workers have been inspecting the stormwater system behind Alligator Soul since the restaurant was flooded during a storm on May 17. Eric Curl/Savannah Morning News

Summer 500 program offers job training, life skills

Savannah Mayor Eddie DeLoach and Alderwoman Carol Bell didn’t quite know what they were getting into when they announced in January their intention to provide job training and life skills to 500 young people ages 14-17.

Keynote speaker Ron Sullivan addresses the participants during the kick-off event on Tuesday of the city's Summer 500 internship program. (Eric Curl/Savannah Morning News)

Construction almost set to begin for $60 million West River Street hotel

Excavators, bulldozers and dumptrucks were busy Monday moving dirt on the site of Rockbridge Capital’s planned $60 million hotel on the south side of West River Street.

Workers cleared the site Monday for a $60 million hotel Rockbridge Capital is planning for West River Street, across from the decommissioned power plant Richard Kessler plans to renovate for his $250 million Plant Riverside project. (Eric Curl/Savannah Morning News)

Savannah seeking faster, expanded wireless network

As the city develops plans for improving public safety and spurring economic development, officials say there is a need to evaluate Savannah’s high-speed Internet capabilities as well.

City seeks tourism help

The city of Savannah plans to move forward this year with the development of a tourism management plan to try to balance the needs of residents and industry interests.

Bridget Lidy, director of Savannah’s Tourism Management & Ambassadorship department, addresses the Tourism Advisory Committee on Tuesday. (Eric Curl/Savannah Morning News)

Savannah disparity study of regional market prompts city look at local businesses

Officials and staff in Savannah’s city government are providing more details about their procurement practices after a hired consultant found evidence of discrimination in awarding contracts to businesses owned by women and minorities.

Youth job program seeks businesses to employ teens during summer

The city wants the private sector’s help in expanding a summer program that provides job training for at-risk youth.

Diavante Kittles, 18, describes his experience being employed last summer as part of the Savannah Pre-Apprentice Program during a business recruitment meeting Tuesday. Eric Curl/Savannah Morning News

Study: City of Savannah contracts omit minorities, women

The city of Savannah has a lot of work to do when it comes to ensuring a fair share of government contracts are going to businesses owned by minorities and women, according to the results of a disparity study presented to the City Council on Tuesday.

Rodney Strong, with Griffin & Strong, presents his firm's findings from a disparity study that examined the city's contracting process. Eric Curl/Savannah Morning News

The next hurdle for Johnny Harris

Meetings have been running relatively quickly since the new Savannah City Council was sworn in early this year, usually lasting about an hour. However, a bit of nostalgia and fear topped with some spicy barbecue sauce could slow things down a bit Thursday.