SAVANNAH, Ga. (June 27, 2014) - Atlanta developer Ben Carter won a key vote yesterday that will enable him to continue his work restoring and returning Savannah's famous Broughton Street to its past retail glory. The city's Zoning Board of Appeals overturned an earlier vote by the Savannah Historic District Board of Review to demolish a building that has been covered in stucco to make room for a new building that will better fit with Broughton Street's architectural fabric.
SAVANNAH, Ga., June 26, 2014 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Ben Carter Enterprises has acquired 27 properties on Broughton Street in Savannah's Historic District and has begun work on renovating and restoring all but one of them. The firm is planning varying levels of renovations and repairs including exterior repairs, façade restorations, new exterior storefronts, entry modifications, an awning replacement and roof deck improvements. Only one building will be demolished.
The team Carter has assembled is pursuing its overall vision of returning Broughton Street to a vibrant community with art, music, cultural events and enlightening experiences. Broughton Street's retail offerings will be divided into different districts: Fashion, Casual Fashion, Contemporary and Lifestyle. The retailers and restaurateurs will be clustered in areas of the street based on style, ranging from upscale to bohemian.
"Our goal is to attract the best retailers and chef-driven restaurants to downtown Savannah," said Ben Carter, founder of Ben Carter Enterprises. "The area has deep history and inherent charm already, and we look forward to bringing the street back to its former glory and vitality. We will give both residents and tourists a new reason to come downtown, by making Broughton Street a place with beautiful streetscapes where you can visit, stroll, shop, dine and just be."
Karen Guinn, a key member of the Carter team, said, "We are not building a project that will have one grand opening, but rather renovating a district, so the progress and the milestones will be rolling, with a steady stream of openings between now and March 2015."
Carter's investment to the restoration of Broughton Street is unprecedented. "What Ben Carter is doing in Savannah is a huge undertaking and shows he has made a commitment that previous Broughton Street landlords have been unwilling or unable to do," Guinn said. "Ben could have acquired the properties and filled them with tenants without upgrading the properties. But that's not the way he works. He cares about improving the communities where he does business. Also, he recently moved into an apartment right on Broughton."
Plans at the Broughton Street district continue to crystalize. Along the street, several dumpsters are located outside buildings that are being cleaned out, renovated and restored. As part of Carter's $75 million project, a substantial portion is dedicated to ensure buildings are returned to a structurally sound state and made up-to-date with life-and-fire-safety regulations. The team is cleaning out several buildings that have not been occupied in 50 years and has found artifacts that exhibit the important role the properties play in Savannah's history.
"In 25 E. Broughton St., we found a 1940s Certificate of Appreciation to the President of the Lion's Club," Guinn said.
As part of the jurisdiction review, Carter currently has buildings under review for internal renovations, façade renovation and façade replacement. Carter also has filed an appeal of the denial of his application to demolish the building at 240 W. Broughton so he can develop a four-story retail and residential building reminiscent of the old Chatham Furniture Building that stood on the site before a fire destroyed it. This building is the only one Carter would like to demolish. All others will be restored.
Carter's team has a signed letter of intent and is in lease negotiation with an international retailer that provides high-fashion apparel at affordable prices. The retailer requires 30,000 square feet and will occupy the basement and additional three floors. The demo request is being made to provide the retailer with a consistent, architecturally attractive store.
Carter said, "The retailer we are working with is at the top of the list for an anchor department store in urban areas around the world. They have prominent locations in D.C., New York, London and now they want to be here, in Savannah- that speaks volumes for this City and for Broughton Street.
"Historically Broughton Street has housed famous department stores such as Sears, J.C. Penny and Belk. It is my sincere hope that the people of Savannah will understand how important a retail anchor like this is to urban revitalization."
The team also announced J. Crew, L'Occitane and The Ancient Olive will open their first Savannah store in Carter properties on historic Broughton Street. The addition of the three new retailers is part of Carter's vision for his firm's Broughton Street project, a redevelopment of the historic, urban, walkable street in the heart of Savannah.
The Broughton portfolio consists of 200,000 square feet of retail and restaurant spaces along Broughton Street between Jefferson and Drayton streets. Ben Carter Enterprises also plans to turn the upper floors of the recently acquired street spaces into approximately 100 urban-style loft apartments, offices and creative spaces for students and young professionals.
About Ben Carter Enterprises, a client of The Wilbert Group
Ben Carter Enterprises is a full-service, commercial real estate firm that specializes in retail and mixed-use projects throughout the Southeast. The premier properties and outlets firm is currently underway on the development of the Outlet Mall of Savannah, a $200 million project; the "Broughton Street" Project portfolio, a $75 million project; and the Outlet Mall of Augusta. The firm has developed $3 billion in retail and mix-use properties in the Southeast comprising of over 4 million square feet. The company's most notable projects include the St. John's Town Center, an upscale retail and mixed-use community in Jacksonville, Fla., and the Mall of Georgia in Buford, Ga., one of the first mall properties to incorporate an outdoor village featuring retail and restaurants surrounding a green space and entertainment area. For more information about Ben Carter Enterprises, please contact (404) 869-7100 or visit www.bencarterenterprises.com.
CONTACT: For more information, contact: Tony Wilbert The Wilbert Group 404-254-1487 (O) 404-405-3656 (C) firstname.lastname@example.org