City Grill

Ryan Price

Ryan Price
Vice President, Savannah Division Manager
JE Dunn

Construction in Savannah continues to move at a very busy pace, driven in large part by manufacturing projects, even as the outlook is less optimistic for private development financing growth, says Ryan Price, vice president and Savanna division manager at JE Dunn.

“All you have to do is look around town and surrounding communities in Savannah to see all the multifamily and hospitality growth,” Price says. “Additionally, the Port of Savannah continues to expand and build additional capacity.”

Growth in manufacturing is likely the hottest trend in the Savannah market, according to Price. It is driving job and population growth as well as single- and multi-family housing and corresponding services and facilities in retail, education and health care sectors.

With big-ticket projects such as Hyundai’s EV plant under construction, and expansion of manufacturer Gulfstream Aerospace facilities driving growth and creating jobs, multifamily and K-12 education projects are set to keep growing in the foreseeable future, Price points out.

City Scoop Savannah

Automaker Hyundai’s $5.5-billion plant is set to be Georgia’s largest-ever economic development project, according to remarks from Gov. Brian Kemp previously reported by ENR. The project was ranked No. 1 on ENR Southeast’s 2022 Top Starts list, with work beginning on the facility in November 2022.

The Savannah College of Art and Design is constructing a 17-story student housing project in the city’s downtown that is expected to further drive growth on the west end of Bay Street. In addition, a new convention center expansion will double its size and add a large new parking structure.

Other big projects in the works for Savannah include a government courthouse facility and the massive Eastern Wharf development that continues to expand with more multifamily units located on the east end of Bay Street, Price says.

Some clients are expressing challenges in securing financing and making deals work as a result of rising interest rates and banks pressing the pause button on new projects, Price says. Still, those economic concerns aren’t yet widespread across all sectors for JE Dunn.

Windsor Forest High School

As Savannah continues to grow, so does investment in K-12 education projects, such as Windsor Forest High School now underway by JE Dunn and architect Hussey Gay Bell.
Rendering courtesy Hussey Gay Bell

“This has impacted projects in Savannah and Charleston [S.C.], but locally seems to be isolated to hospitality and multifamily developments,” Price says. “Given the growth in other market sectors, however, we don’t foresee an immediate slowdown.”

Another concern is the need for skilled labor. One downside of the growing manufacturing sector in the area is that skilled labor may leave construction for jobs in manufacturing, he says.

Comparing the current market with the last few years, it continues to expand, according to Price, and he does not see a contraction on the immediate horizon as the largest projects ever built in Savannah are currently under construction.

Price names the Hyundai EV plant, Chatham County Courthouse and other large multifamily projects among those projects, noting that “It has been a historic past few years with multiple tower cranes giving Savannah a sort of renaissance of new development and growth.”