An Atlanta real estate developer says he’s buying up properties for a proposed $75 million retail and residential development in downtown Savannah.

Ben Carter told members of the Savannah City Council Thursday that he’s already purchased two properties on Broughton Street, a major retail area downtown. He says 22 other Savannah properties are under contract.

Carter says around 30 companies, mostly national retail brands, have expressed interest in the project. He says he will release more details next week.

Savannah alderman Tony Thomas says he worries new development could create parking hassles.

"I want us to completely look at the plan to make sure we don't come up with a great (development) that fails because of parking," Thomas says.

Mayor Edna Jackson says she wants to see new development in the downtown area while preserving longtime businesses.

"We need to bring Broughton Street back with the old and the new," Jackson says.

She says any new retail stores should prioritize hiring employees from within Savannah to help reduce poverty and unemployment.

Carter is the developer behind St. Johns Town Center, a 1.5-million-square-foot development in Jacksonville, Fla.

Tags: business, Atlanta, Savannah, historic preservation, Edna Jackson, Broughton Street, Ben Carter, Tony Thomas, Sarah McCammon