City council divided over designs for new Savannah arena

The proposed location for the new arena is between Louisville Road and Gwinnett Street (Credit:WTGS).

The Savannah City Council has been calling on the community to give their input on designs for the new arena. Tuesday afternoon, city council members got the chance to hear that feedback and make suggestions of their own.

The proposed location is between Louisville Road and Gwinnett Street. The $160 million project is set to be able to hold 10,000 people. With such a significant impact on Savannah, arena developers were glad to get a large amount of public feedback.

"We got a tremendous amount a feedback from the initial surveys, but what we really heard was people want this to be a destination for Savannah and for the region," said Denise W., a member of the Arena Development Team.

A major focus point was combining the best of what the city has to offer.

"People wanted to have a warm and inviting building that reflected Savannah, yet was modern and contemporary," she said.

While arena developers say they received mostly positive public feedback, some council members were not necessarily as excited to see designs that were very "out with the old and in with the new."

"The look, it has nothing about Savannah," said Alderman Julian Miller. "I don't know why you even did the study, because none of the things that I see in your study show up in that building."

"I don't like the design and I agree with Julian," said Alderman Tony Thomas.

The design had council members pretty evenly split.

"I think it's a beautiful building," said Alderman John Hall.

"To me, when I see it, I see that we talk about Savannah's past, but this is Savannah's future," said Alderman Van Johnson.

"To me, you've done a remarkable job of putting out there what you have heard from the people," said Alderman Brian Foster.

The design team will have to consider all sides going forward. However, the say the ultimate goal is still to create a place unique to the city.

“A place that everyone is proud of to have here in Savannah," said a design team member.

Arena developers will take the feedback they got today and work to create a more finalized product to be presented to council at a future work session.

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