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City Talk

City Talk appears every Tuesday and Sunday - Email me. Send mail to 10 East 32nd St., Savannah, Ga. 31401.

CITY TALK: Study details economic benefits of preservation

The Historic Savannah Foundation recently released “Beyond Tourism,” a 60-page study about the impact of historic preservation on our economy and quality of life. “Beyond Tourism” is a good read, especially for those who like hard numbers and bar graphs along the way.

You can buy your copy of “Beyond Tourism” through HSF at www.myhsf.org

CITY TALK: New uses could replace arena, improve downtown

In a recent column, I noted that the construction of a new arena gives Savannah an unprecedented opportunity to recreate lost portions of the Oglethorpe Plan on the west side of the Historic District. I am in favor of the total demolition of the existing arena and for the re-establishment of as many blocks as possible, including Perry and McDonough streets from Barnard Street all the way to Montgomery Street. But there are a number of sensible plans that would stop short of maximum re-establishment of Gen. Oglethorpe’s famed grid.

CITY TALK: New 'general store' offers local, regional products

PW SHORT General Store opened a couple of months ago at 414 Whitaker St. That’s at the corner of Taylor Street in the heart of the Downtown Design District.

As we wandered through the shop recently, proprietor Scot Hinson described it as “a regional, food-forward general store.”

https://www.facebook.com/pages/P-W-Short

CITY TALK: Latest employment data mostly solid

The payroll job estimates released last week by the Georgia Department of Labor showed a predictable seasonal decline in Savannah area employment in May, but the data are still generally strong. Between May 2014 and May 2015, private employment in the Savannah area grew by a vigorous 3.8 percent. We would need to see key numbers decline beyond midsummer before we’d have real cause for worry about a local slowdown.

 

CITY TALK: Dancing Dogs Yoga opens on Savannah's Broughton Street

On a recent Friday evening, Dancing Dogs Yoga Savannah hosted a grand opening party in the new studio on the second floor of 18 East Broughton St.

Dancing Dogs Yoga Savannah http://www.dancingdogsyoga.com

CITY TALK: A few thoughts on Savannah's evolving restaurant scene

Savannah is keeping company with four of the largest metro areas in the country on Food & Wine’s list. This is yet another step in the Savannah restaurant scene’s quiet revolution, which, in my estimation, has been going on throughout this century.

Savannah's The Grey named one of the Top 5 restaurants in America

CITY TALK: New hotel near Drayton Tower deserves bolder design

When I moved to Savannah in 1995, I did not appreciate Drayton Tower’s presence in the downtown architectural landscape. I was very much in the “that doesn’t fit in” camp. But the old building grew on me, especially after I started visiting friends in the small apartments, some of which had grand views of the city.

Courtesy Hansen Archtiects, P.C.- An artist’s rendering of the proposed hotel on Perry Street.

CITY TALK: Employment numbers show strong local growth

Several months ago, we had speculated that construction employment had bottomed and might be rebounding. According to these latest estimates, the construction sector added about 400 jobs over the last year — a solid 7 percent increase.

CITY TALK: Restoring Oglethorpe plan should be part of arena project

The city of Savannah recently hired the consulting firm Barrett Sports Group to study various issues related to our long-planned new arena. How big should our new arena be? How much parking will it require? How many overnight visitors are likely to attend events?

From the Library of Congress website

CITY TALK: Volvo decision comes into sharper focus

In a recent column, I speculated that Volvo had straightforward, fairly obvious reasons for choosing to build a new manufacturing facility in metro Charleston rather than in metro Savannah.

In the last few days, we’ve gotten a little more news about that decision, which seemed to have surprised many folks in Savannah.

In a recent column, I speculated that Volvo had straightforward, fairly obvious reasons for choosing to build a new manufacturing facility in metro Charleston rather than in metro Savannah. In the last few days, we’ve gotten a little more news about that decision, which seemed to have surprised many folks in Savannah.

CITY TALK: Starlandia Creative Supply opens on Bull Street

Starlandia Creative Supply opened last week in a surprisingly large commercial space at 2438 Bull St, at the corner of 41st Street. The store carries new and used art supplies, plus a smattering of other eclectic items.

https://www.facebook.com/starlandiasupply

CITY TALK: How much would it have cost to keep the Sand Gnats?

Just about everyone in Savannah would have liked to see the Sand Gnats stay in town.

But how big of a burden should taxpayers shoulder to support a private company like Hardball Capital, the Gnats’ owner?

CITY TALK: How much would it have cost to keep the Sand Gnats?

CITY TALK: Reasons for Volvo decision might be obvious

Since Volvo announced it would build a new manufacturing plant in the Charleston metro area, Savannah area residents have been debating the reasons.

We don’t have precise answers from the automaker about the selection of South Carolina over Georgia for the plum new facility, but it seems to me that much of the social media discussion has missed the mark.

CITY TALK: Reasons for Volvo decision might be obvious

CITY TALK: ZIA celebrates 10 years with Telfair show

With all the talk of national retailers coming to Broughton Street, it’s easy to forget about the thriving, locally owned, entirely independent businesses in the historic shopping corridor.

Well, on Friday night at the Telfair Museums’ Jepson Center, Zia Sachedina — owner of ZIA Boutique at 325 W. Broughton St. — reminded everyone about the power of local businesses. In a big way.

CITY TALK: Chromatic Dragon serving food, fun on MLK

You might one day catch me playing Scrabble, Battleship or even Monopoly at The Chromatic Dragon, but I’m not familiar at all with most of the board games at the new restaurant and bar at 514 Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd. I don’t know anything about Catan or Cards Against Humanity — the self-described “party game for horrible people.” And I definitely don’t know anything about the video games that can be played on large screens throughout The Chromatic Dragon. But I do know when new businesses make a splash, and The Chromatic Dragon, which has been opened as part of the larger Guild Hall complex, has definitely made a splash.

 
Julia Ritchey/Savannah Morning News- Jacob Heider and Clegg Ivey, co-founders of The Guild Hall, stand in front of their new gaming pub The Chromatic Dragon. The restaurant and bar is scheduled to open May 1 on Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard.

CITY TALK: Is it time for food trucks in Savannah?

In Julia Ritchey’s preview of the event here in the Savannah Morning News, a city official notes that Savannah doesn’t have a lot of room for food trucks downtown.

I have two broad responses to the idea that we don’t have the space for food trucks.

Savannah Morning News file photo The Bean Scene coffee and lemonade cart on Wright Square, shown here in 2005, is the rare mobile food unit allowed under city ordinance. The truck is owned by an existing business owner, Smooth's Susan Jaffie, who has access to a commercial kitchen to prepare food.

CITY TALK: New Sorry Charlie's comes out of the gate fast in downtown Savannah

Sorry Charlie’s Oyster Bar opened recently at 116 West Congress St.

Capitalizing on a superb location, a beautifully renovated space and an excellent menu that has a whole lot more than just oysters, the new restaurant has hit the ground running. Let me say a few things about each of those three points.

New Sorry Charlie's comes out of the gate fast in downtown Savannah

CITY TALK: Paddy O'Shea's now open on MLK

Paddy O’Shea’s, a new restaurant and bar at 125 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., held its grand opening last weekend.

Paddy O’Shea’s joins a sort of “restaurant row” between Broughton Street and Oglethorpe Avenue across from the courthouse complex. Going from north to south, there’s The Grey, Wasabi’s, Carlito’s Mexican Bar & Grill and now Paddy O’Shea’s.

CITY TALK: Paddy O'Shea's now open on MLK - http://paddyosheaspub.com/

CITY TALK: Spring is here; so are delays on Hwy. 80

I’d love to see a good estimate of the economic activity lost because of stopped and slowed traffic on the road to Tybee.

On a recent Sunday afternoon, traffic incidents resulted in gridlock going to and from the island.

CITY TALK: Spring is here; so are delays on Hwy. 80

CITY TALK: Savannah's hiring surge continues

We are still seeing an uneven recovery across Georgia, but employment here in the Savannah metro area has been strong for many months.

And that continued in March.