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Monday, March 12, 2012 - 2:41pm

Changes For Savannah's River Street

Updated: 2 years ago.
The historic waterfront is where Savannah started, gained its economic wealth and now attracts tourism, the city's No.1 industry. Several changes are proposed for River Street. (photo Orlando Montoya)

Major changes are in store for one of Savannah’s tourist hubs.

River Street is of the city’s most visited places.

Two new hotels and a first-ever restaurant on the street's riverbank side promise to change the street's look.

The developments come as Savannah experiences record tourism.

The city's tourism agency says, January's hotel-motel taxes set a new record for the month.

Daniel Carey of the Historic Savannah Foundation urges the city to go slow with changes on the waterfront.

"This is our cradle," Carey says. "This is Savannah's cradle. So, we need to be very thoughtful and very measured with the development of River Street. We need to keep a number of things in mind -- a humane scale, appropriate uses."

The two hotels and restaurant are just the beginning.

Georgia Power plans to sell two large River Street properties, setting the stage for even more changes.

"I think we've got two important bookend properties at either end and both happen to be, just coincidentally, owned by Georgia power," Carey says. "The development of those or the redevelopment of those will determine a lot of what will happen in between."

A historic review board must approve all new waterfront construction.

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