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Savannah Civic Center - Where Opportunity Meets Preparation

"Luck is where opportunity meets preparation" - Seneca, Lucius Annaeus

Savannah has a rare chance to shape the city’s future health and resilience.  In the wake of City of Savannah’s plans to restore and reimagine the Johnny Mercer Theater, we’re faced with the decision of what comes next? The demolition of the Savannah Civic Center and surrounding surface parking can become a restoration of 7 city blocks of the original Oglethorpe pattern – the foundation of Savannah as a world heritage city.

Left to right - Original Elbert Square, Sanborn Maps of the last remaining historic building belonging to the Wetter House on Oglethorpe Lane, and Contributing Building Map from MPC.

We are sensitive to the importance of restoring the design of our beloved city and are enthusiastic about continuing the seamless connection with culture and commerce. In October 2018, the ULI Technical Assistance Panel proposed thoughtful recommendations (See Report) for how this precious urban land should be re-used.

GMSHAY conducted a conjectural study based on these recommendations, energy independence goals by the city of Savannah, and our intimate understanding of local needs. This study focused on four blocks of this land to illustrate a medium-density, neighborhood-friendly, mixed-use development.


These images were chosen from that study – and show one approach to how street level retail, market-rate and affordable housing, rooftop gardens and solar power could be woven into Savannah’s iconic urban fabric.



The opportunity is imminent. We are well prepared.


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