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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: 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.

CITY TALK: Trends for our next generation of tourists

The Savannah Tourism Futures Study, which was unveiled recently at a meeting at the International Trade and Convention Center, considered Savannah’s relationship to 12 tourism trends.
Photo by Beau Kester/ Round 1 Productions- A segway tour in Savannah’s Historic District. A new tourism futures study suggests ways to capitalize on Savannah’s assets to ensure sustainable growth.

CITY TALK: Bull Street corridor south of Forsyth Park continues to boom

There are multiple new businesses about which I haven’t written along that stretch of Bull between 37th Street and Victory Drive. And there is ongoing renovation in multiple commercial spaces stretching north to Forsyth Park.

Back in the Day Bakery

CITY TALK: Savannah location of CO now open on Whitaker Street

On a quiet evening last week, a friend and I checked out CO, the new Asian fusion restaurant at 10 Whitaker St., between Bay and Bryan streets.

And I’m sure we’ll be going back.

CITY TALK: Savannah location of CO now open on Whitaker Street

CITY TALK: Declining wristband sales point to flawed policies

Wristband requirements and other restrictions are barriers to festival attendance, especially for folks who are only marginally attached to the idea of becoming part of the drunken throng.

Who will pay the $5, and maybe even a whole lot more, not just on one day, but on each of the four festival days? The folks who really want to be part of that drunken throng.

 
CITY TALK: Declining wristband sales point to flawed policies

CITY TALK: Plenty of downtown parking in Savannah, just not where you want it

If you are among those who routinely argue there’s no parking downtown, you’re wrong.

On the final Friday night of the Savannah Music Festival, there were hundreds of folks at the Lucas Theatre for “Stringband Spectacular” and more than a thousand a couple of hours later for Dianne Reeves at Trustees Theater.

In addition to the SMF attendees, downtown was crawling with shoppers, tourists and diners.

CITY TALK: Plenty of downtown parking in Savannah, just not where you want it

CITY TALK: More venues would benefit music festival, other events

The SMF took full advantage of the Ships of the Sea and the Morris Center this year. The festival also used a variety of other historic spaces, especially the Lucas Theatre for the Arts, Trustees Theater and Trinity United Methodist Church.

Really, it’s hard to imagine a better group of venues — or is it?

DakhaBrakha

CITY TALK: New hotel tax: How bad will it be for Savannah?

While no one knows the full ramifications of the additional $5 per night, it seems clear that there will be negative impacts.

CITY TALK: Courthouse complex presents long-range issue

Over the years, I’ve written many columns about the role of public policy in good urban planning and design.

But it’s been awhile since I’ve written about the problems created by the Chatham County courthouse parking garage on Broughton Street between Montgomery Street and Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard.

CITY TALK: With the demolition of Savannah's Meldrim Row, other problems will become evident

I’ve seen numerous comments in recent months about the deplorable condition of the cottages that are being demolished, but such comments have generally come from those who arrived late to the debate.

CITY TALK: Bull Street intersections hazardous

There has been a lot of talk in recent months about the importance of public safety to tourism and about enhancing the experiences of tourists. Maybe we need to go after the low-hanging fruit first and make these intersections safer.

CITY TALK: Construction, manufacturing jobs on rebound

In a recent column, I took a close look at January’s payroll employment estimates for the Savannah metro area, which includes Chatham, Effingham and Bryan counties.
Those estimates showed robust growth over the past year, and the newly released data for February show strong growth is continuing into 2015.