The New York Times recently released an article about Savannah’s own Starland District as a long awaited emerging neighborhood on the path to become the next development hub for Savannah. This week we take a closer look at the area and what’s in store for the bustling arts area over the next few years.
It is no secret that the Starland District has gone through one of the more dramatic transformations of the years. The aptly named district was born in the 1940s when the Starland Dairy moved its processing plant to the area for the distribution of their dairy products. In this era, it was a hot spot for neighborhood involvement, street fairs, markets and other community events. Once the plant closed in the 70s so did the community involvement and thus began the exodus of families that resided there for the decades after.
Fast forward 30 years, starting in 2000 developer Greg Jacobs and partner John Diedrick, started to make progress moving Starland into a revitalized area using sustainable renovation and preparation for condos and small business centers. The Times article aptly pointed out, the recession of 2008 stalled the development for several more years.
In the past few years however, the area, known for its vibrant art scene and eclectic businesses mix, has started to see a more Brooklyn vibe to the downtown area. With the advent of Savannah hotspots like The Florence, One West Victory, Starlandia, Starland Cafe and the ever popular Back in the Day Bakery, the area started to receive the recognition that developers were hoping for over a decade ago at the beginning of the revitalization.
Lately retail spaces have begun to enter the scene. Normally the last to enter an emerging area, retail can suffer from lighter foot traffic. Nicholas Witchel, owner of NOLAjane, has seen a steady increase in traffic, a telltale sign that growth is continuing,
“Due to the growth in Starland District we’re seeing an increase in traffic from both locals and tourists. Some recent traveling NOLAjane shoppers have been from places such as Brooklyn, Chicago and Montreal. All of our customers have been excited to find eclectic growth in the Starland Area.”
The newest retail stores to join the Starland District are The Vicar’s Wife, Starlandia and Appreciation Society, to name a few.
Bruce Jacobs, Associate Broker at Judge Realty, has since been working on commercial and residential projects in the District for many years. Jacobs now has roughly 10 commercial spaces and a handful or residential property currently in the works within the district and notes, “Starland has always acted as a great incubator for start up businesses. With lower rent and a creative atmosphere, businesses have always gotten the support they need to grow. Most seem to move on to bigger spaces but with new developments we might see a lot of businesses choosing to stay and grow right in Starland.”
Check back for announcements of new businesses coming to the area and the weekly events that continue to help nurture this once again, thriving neighborhood.