The latest addition to Savannah’s skyline is finally a hub of more than just construction activity.
The Cay Building, the six-story office and retail complex on Ellis Square under construction since May 2011, is complete. The last of the building’s three retail tenants will open for business on Monday.
Built above the city of Savannah’s Whitaker Street parking garage, the Cay Building features 75,000 square feet of leasable space, marble and brass finishes, a brick-and-cast-stone facade and a streetscape complete with brick pavers, granite curbs, an ornate clock and palm trees.
“John Cay wanted to leave a legacy for Savannah,” said Jay Andrews, the complex’s leasing agent and one of the original leaders of the project. “He succeeded.”
The Cay Building’s touches took time. The building superstructure was in place more than a year ago, and developers originally targeted a spring 2012 opening. But materials issues led to a delay, and Cay decided to invest in improving the streetscape, which is city property.
The building’s anchor tenant, the U.S. attorneys, moved into the upper four floors in September. Two second-floor office tenants, Palmer & Cay and Cay Insurance Services followed in October. Another federal agency, the Inspector General of the Department of Health and Human Services, has leased second-floor space, and another 4,000 square feet remains available.
The first of the retailers, Veri Berri frozen yogurt, opened last month. Moe’s Southwest Grill begins operations Wednesday, and First Citizens bank will open its branch on Monday.
“It was worth the extra bit of wait,” said Chris Brown, whose Moe’s store will be open late on the weekends and will be one of two Moe’s franchises in the country to offer breakfast. “Everything was done first class.”
The Cay Building is accessible by elevator to the Whitaker Street garage. The Cays received the rights to 62 spaces in the garage in allowing the city to build under their property. The parking was the main reason the building landed the U.S. Attorneys’ lease, Andrews said, and Cay’s desire to bring “true Class A” office space to downtown led him to incorporate the building’s distinct architectural and finishing touches.
The building catches the eyes of passersby, according to First Citizens local market president, Reeves Skeen. The South Carolina-based bank designed a “next generation” branch for the building, incorporating a video wall and an open floor plan rarely seen in retail banking locations.
“Our main focus for 2013 is brand awareness and this branch is the first stage of that,” Skeen said. “This shows our commitment to the community. Now people can see us and experience us. It will be hard to miss us in a location like this.”