The sixth time was the charm for the hotel planned for River Street’s west end.
Kind of, anyway.
The Savannah Historic Board of Review on Wednesday approved architectural plans for a 165-room hotel to be built on the corner of River Street and Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard across from the now-vacant Plant Riverside power station. Architect Pat Shay first brought the project before the board in January and made five subsequent presentations addressing the board’s concerns.
Even with Wednesday’s approval, Shay will bring the project back before the board at least twice more. Board members asked for additional details on the façade colors as a condition of Wednesday’s go-ahead. Shay will also eventually need the board’s blessing on the hotel’s signage and exterior lighting.
Shay offered no timetable for the hotel’s construction or opening.
“They want to keep making steady progress,” Shay said of his client, Columbus, Ohio-based developer RockBridge Capital.
The seven-story hotel is to be built on the site of an abandoned hotel annex and will occupy an entire city block bordered by River Street, MLK Boulevard, Montgomery Street and Williamson Street. The hotel is likely to be developed concurrent to the City of Savannah improving the Montgomery Street right-of-way adjacent to the property.
Montgomery dead-ends at the edge of the bluff next to the hotel site. An untended grassy slope leads from the Montgomery down to River Street.
Shay is talking with city officials about connectivity options. Original plans for the hotel called for a wide staircase to be built on the hillside, with the developer voicing a willingness to partner with the city on the project.
The staircase element has been removed from the most recent plans, although a public elevator is shown adjacent to the hotel. Shay said the city is “close” to committing to its own plans for the hillside.
“We’ve made a lot of progress,” Shay told the review board. “That’s not our project but we’re keeping a place for it.”
The hotel is one of several lodging projects that promise to transform River Street’s edges in the years to come. Plant Riverside is for sale across the street and is often mentioned as a hotel site. The Georgia Power property on the other end of River Street, home to the company’s former office building, is under contract and plans call for a hotel/retail complex on that site.