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MPC approves zoning for President Street hotel development

  • This rendering shows a conceptual plan for a five-building hotel development off of President Street. The Metropolitan Planning Commission voted to rezone the eight-acre site, which is being developed by HD Companies, on Tuesday. The recommendation will now move to Savannah City Council for final review. (Rendering courtesy of HD Companies/via Metropolitan Planning Commission)
A five-building hotel complex plan for Savannah’s east side took a big step toward reality after the Metropolitan Planning Commission on Tuesday voted to rezone an eight-acre site south of President Street from Light Industrial to Community Business.
 
Pooler-based HD Companies plans to remediate the property, which is currently used as a demolition debris site, by removing the debris and potentially contaminated soil and then prepping the former Bremer Tract for development.
 
Once completed, the complex would feature 645 total beds spread across various buildings along with three parking structures with more than 600 parking spaces. Overall the project is expected to be about a $250 investment. No hotels brands or a groundbreaking dates have been set, but the projected completion date for the project is 2023.
 
“We’re a ways out. … The site is roughly 24 to 26 feet high with debris,” said David Hornsby, director of development for HD Companies.
 
Hornsby said a plan and application for removing the debris is currently going through the review process with the Georgia Environmental Protection Division and the estimated cost to remove the debris could be upwards of $2 million, followed by another $2 million to bring dirt back in in order to start construction, he said.
 
“That whole corridor out there is getting ready to explode with the Savannah River Landing and the other things out that way, so we’re confident,” he said.
 
“Once we get through, we’lll have a wonderful site.”
 
According to the report presented at Tuesday’s meeting, the developer eventually hopes to link the site to an extension of Oglethorpe Avenue and directly to the planned Savannah River Landing intersection at President Street. The developer also plans to donate the land on the east side of the tract to the City of Savannah for the expansion of the Bilbo Canal.
 
The MPC also voted to approve the conceptual plan for the project, which at this stage has very few details, to receive comments and early approval to move forward. The Community Business zoning district allows for a maximum height of 35 feet — anything taller would require approval of a height variance.
 
The zoning change will now move to Savannah City Council for final approval and the future General and Specific Development Plans will come back to the MPC for consideration.

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