The long discussed new arena for the city of Savannah may be one step closer to reality. On Thursday City Council will decide whether or not to approve money for a detailed study into the type of facility the city needs. The intersection of Stiles and Gwinnett is the site chosen for the city’s new arena….it’s been a long time coming – but there’s still a lot of planning to be done before the city breaks ground to build it. That’s what this study is all about.
The proposed study will cost nearly 176-thousand dollars – but at the end will give the City the information needed to move forward. Marty Johnston, Director of Special Projects for the City explains, “We now have a site – now what we have to determine is how many seats this community can support, how many parking spaces it will take, how we will get in and out of the site in terms of ingress and egress and roads and tractor trailers that would be bringing large sets.” How many seats could change based on a decision to build for population now – or building with room for future growth. The number of bathrooms and concessions required for the recommended number of seats would also be considered…and that’s not all says Johnston, “It will help determine modern amenities like VIP seating or skyboxes – you know – skyboxes are kind of based on what kind of businesses and industry we have in this community and who could buy a skybox? Who could lease a skybox? Who would be interested in a skybox?”
The marketing potential for naming rights and price to do so would be considered along with what type of acts the Arena hopes to draw. “At the end of this study – we feel like it will give us some solid, factual information to help us determine what we want to build – it will look at will this community support a minor league hockey team or a minor league soccer team on an ongoing basis – or are we more special events sports driven…There are a-list artists – again, Beyoncé and beyond – that we are never going to get because we are never going to build a facility that size – however, there are plenty of a-list artists that fit within a range of seats.”
The study is expected to take three to four months. The company proposed to conduct it also did the studies for the Phillip’s Arena, the Gwinnet Arena and the new Falcons Stadium. They’ve also been asked to look at potential future use of the civic center site as part of the study.