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Friday, January 4, 2013 - 12:00pm

Developer Buys Waterfront Property

High-end hotel developer Richard Kessler has bought a prime piece of real estate on Savannah's waterfront.

The purchase has the potential to expand the city's tourism corridor and rehabilitate an unusual historic property.

River Street is often the first impression visitors get of Savannah.

The sale of a former Georgia Power plant on its western end could open up a large industrial building to the public.

Kessler won't talk about his plans but speculation centers on a hotel.

Daniel Carey of the Historic Savannah Foundation says the developer's previous historically-sensitive work here bodes well for whatever plans emerge for the property.

"I'm very optimistic about what can become of the Georgia Power plant in large part because it's Richard Kessler," Carey says. "I'm particularly pleased that this presents an opportunity for the rehabilitation of an important historic building. We don't have a lot of vacant, undeveloped historic buildings along the waterfront."

Orlando-based Kessler has developed five-Savannah hotels, including one on River Street.

The sale bookends another high-profile development on River Street's eastern edge as tourism-related construction picks up in Savannah in the economic recovery.

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