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Hugh Acheson: Despite rumors, The Florence isn’t closing in Savannah

Although it’s listed for lease, acclaimed chef and restauranteur Hugh Acheson said his Savannah restaurant, The Florence, isn’t closing.

The space at 1 West Victory Drive, is listed for sublease with Colliers International, a commercial real estate company, with more than seven years remaining on the initial lease, according to the listing.

“We’re trying to see where we stand and what are brokerage options are,” Acheson said in phone call Monday. Essentially someone could buy the restaurant and renegotiate the lease terms, Acheson said, but for now it’s business as usual.

The listing touts the on-site coffee shop, Italian, wood-burning pizza oven, second-floor deck and 36 reserved parking spaces for the space, which is just under 7,000-square-feet.

On Monday, Acheson acknowledged that The Florence development might have been softer than he hoped, but he is still proud of the food and what’s happening there.

“It’s not a dire situation. It’ll stay open as long as I want it to stay open,” he said. “… It can take eons to see if there is any interest, but we’re not closing.”

The Florence opened in what was once an ice factory in June 2014, joining Acheson’s other Georgia establishments, Five & Ten, The National and Empire State South. Acheson won James Beard Awards for his work as a chef and for his cookbook “A New Turn in the South: Southern Flavors Reinvented for Your Kitchen.” He is also known as a judge on the television competition “Top Chef.”

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