The Canal District is the City of Savannah’s premier planning and development initiative. Anchored by the new SPLOST-funded arena, the Canal District is located on the west side of Savannah near the intersection of Gwinnet Street and Stiles Avenue. The arena and surrounding district will be one of the largest projects the City has ever undertaken and presents the opportunity to create a vibrant new center of activity adjacent to Savannah’s "downtown".
The City conducted a listening workshop on August 22, 2019 to present preliminary plans and hear feedback from the community. A visioning workshop followed on September 14th, which included draft plan principles and priorities. A plan workshop on October 10th, "District Connections: Water and People" looked specifically at drainage issues. A November 7th, 2019 presentation provided a more comprehensive set of master plan recommendations.
In 2022, the Historic and Cultural Resources Report was completed to identify historically significant structures, development patterns, and neighborhood boundaries. The report also provides documentation and recommendations for the protection of historic resources within the Canal District. A second survey was completed focusing on the surrounding area.
Downtown Streetscape Improvement Initiative
In 2014, the City launched the Downtown Streetscape Improvement Initiative to build on previous planning efforts to revitalize downtown Savannah and create an environment that contributes to its livability and economic vitality.
In October 2018 the Urban Land Institute (ULI), a nonprofit research and education group, convened a technical assistance panel to assess the highest and best uses for the Civic Center site. The site represents a "unique and significant redevelopment opportunity with the National Historic Landmark District." The group conducted numerous site visits and stakeholder interviews. It published its report, "Savannah Civic Center Redevelopment" in late 2018.
On April 14, 2021, a Council Workshop was held where Christian Sottile from Sottile & Sottile presented scenarios for the use of the Gamble Building and Civic Center site. This is a link to the presentation and the Council Workshop Stream.