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Savannah’s Historic Manger Building Could Be Converted (Back) To A Hotel

About 37 years after being converted into an office building, the historic Manger Building overlooking Johnson Square in downtown Savannah may be returning to its roots.

A zoning change approved by the Metropolitan Planning Commission last week allows for the building’s restoration and conversion into a hotel, as it was used for much of the 20th century.

The building’s owner, South Carolina-based Manger Building, LLC, recently requested a city map change of the Hotel Overlay District to include portions of Bull and Congress Street in front of the building. The request was to have the building restored and refurbished as a hotel after operating as a hotel from 1912 to 1977. Alternatively, MPC staff recommended restoring a historic hotel in the overlay district. The change, which the owner agreed to, only applies to contributing buildings converted from hotels to another use within a certain “key period” of 1733-1960.

The Manger Hotel was once Savannah’s “best place for hospitality, with the city’s first fully air-conditioned rooms and the Purple Tree Lounge on the rooftop,” according to Gunn, Meyerhoff and Shay, the design firm that turned the building’s conversion into a office building from 1985.

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The 1825 building in Montgomery is about to be demolished as part of the apartment development plan. Eric Curl/07.24.2022

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SAVANNAH AGENDA: Real Estate Matters

Apartment complex planned for Montgomery and 35th in Streetcar District

The Historic Preservation Commission last week delayed a proposal to demolish a non-contributing building in Savannah’s Streetcar Historic District to clear the way for a 4-story apartment complex.

Commission staff recommended that the demolition of the 1825 Montgomery St. building be approved, but that treatment of the 86-bed apartment complex would be deferred so that multiple design changes could be made.

“The building is too tall, too wide, the shape of the roof is not appropriate, it is not divided horizontally and vertically in a way that reflects the traditional size of buildings, nor does it convey a human dimension,” the staff report states. .

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SAVANNAH AGENDA: Real Estate Matters

Renovations, restaurant planned for former Kevin Barry’s space on West River Street

Renovations for a new restaurant are planned for the historic West River Street building formerly occupied by much-loved Irish pub Kevin Barry’s, as approved by the Historic District Board of Review last month.

The project’s architect, Savannah-based Felder and Associates, is working with interior design firm The Irish Pub Company to design a restaurant called The Southern Tavern, according to the project description and drawings. Despite the involvement of Irish Pub Co. the new establishment does not appear to be an Irish pub. Instead, The Southern Tavern is described as a restaurant “True Southern history and Southern hospitality” in the documents filed.

Built in 1852, the building is a contributing structure in the Local and National Historic District of downtown Savannah. After opening in 1981, Kevin Barry’s became known for its free live Irish and Celtic music shows before closing in 2019. The closure came about three years after the establishment was awarded the Irish Pubs Global Federation’s designation as the most Irish pub outside of Dublin.

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SAVANNAH AGENDA: Real Estate Matters

The permit documents submitted for the project include a representation of the planned residential complex.

New owner builds apartments on former city plot, closed business building dry cleaning

The newest owner is building a multifamily housing project on the east side of downtown Savannah, about three years after the city sold the vacant lot to another developer in a land swap agreement. The plan includes the recent demolition of the President Street building that housed David’s Dry Cleaners, which ceased operations at that location in March following the sale of the property.

The site is bounded by East Broughton Street to the north, Barr Street to the west, East President Street to the south and Arnold Street to the east. The Charles H. Morris Center is just to the north of the property, the Inner City Night Shelter is to the east of the site, and the Curtis V. Cooper Primary Health Care Clinic is to the west.

The property is being developed by Minnesota-based development company Opus Group. Raben General Contractors describes the project as a 5-storey multi-family residence with 104 units and 282 beds, a ground-floor lobby and amenities, parking lots and multi-family residences, with a ground-level parking level in the basement and an outdoor pool terrace on the second floor.

In May 2019, the city exchanged Broughton’s property at Row Pine Development, along with 12 acres of vacant industrial property on Feeley Avenue, for property the city intended to use for an outbuilding of the municipal downtown. In June 2020, Row Pine Development sold the property to another LLC for $2.5 million. In February of this year, that LLC sold the property to Opus for $4 million. Opus also bought the property where David’s operated in February for $1.45 million.

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SAVANNAH AGENDA: Real Estate Matters

The most recently acquired property by is outlined in orange. The previous purchases are outlined in purple and green.

Hutchinson Island acquisitions continue

Mopper Turner Investments continues to acquire real estate on Hutchinson Island, where a stalled housing project has been slated for years.

The most recently acquired property by is outlined in orange. The previous purchases are outlined in purple and green.

The development group’s latest purchase includes approximately 14 undeveloped acres at the northeast end of the Residences at Savannah Harbor development.

The $5 million purchase at the end of May comes after the investment group purchased nine acres in December for $2.4 million and 149 lots in September for $5.2 million.

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SAVANNAH AGENDA: Real Estate Matters

View of planned Mansion expansion by LS3P.

Townhouse hotel sold to Perry Lane developers

The Kessler Collection (under an LLC) sold the Mansion on Forsyth hotel in June for nearly $53 million to Left Lane Development (also under an LLC), the same development company behind the Perry Lane hotel, according to sales data.

The sale followed the Historic District Board of Review’s approval in April of an expansion to the hotel, including the construction of an event space, outdoor bar and hotel building where the parking lot is currently located.

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