PROPERTY MATTERS: Savannah Mall buyer, Ghost Pirates launching youth league, A new Jazz club?

SAVANNAH AGENDA

Updated October 18, 2022 at 9:26 p.m.

The Savannah Mall’s new owner has emerged, following the auction of a majority of the building over the summer. And fans of such e-cigarette flavors as Heisenberg Menthol, Whatamelon and Chill Out could be in luck, considering the buyer’s affiliation with a vaping accessories distributor. Meanwhile, there is good news for hockey and jazz enthusiasts, while a recent zoning decision probably bummed out the local agency charged with attracting employers to the area.

Stay engaged Savannah.   —Eric

Savannah Mall acquired by lbuyer affiliated with E-cigarette distributor, amid “nuisance” and zoning violations lawsuit

Savannah Mall was purchased by BCHM Investment Group LLC for about $8.44 million on Oct. 4, according to the sales record. Formed in September, BCHM is involved in real estate, rental and leasing, according to the Georgia Secretary of State’s office.

Public records indicate the owner of BCHM, Robert Ali, is also the owner of D&A Distribution, which until recently was listed on Savannah Mall’s website as “opening soon” on the tenant page. Clicking on the link to D&A’s website took you to web page for Strictly E-Cig, which describes itself on Facebook as one of the largest and fastest growing wholesale distributors of vaping kits and accessories.

Meanwhile, an owner of separate portion of the mall filed a lawsuit in August against the now-former owner, Savannah Mall Realty Holdings (SMRH), and D&A Distribution. In the lawsuit, MBM Developments claims that since July, the call center operating out of the space has had to contend with excessive loud noises and vibrations from D&A’s operations on the floor above. Additionally, tractor trailer traffic to and from the loading dock accessed via the parking area has increased to a volume not intended for the zoning district and created a life-threatening safety situation, the suit states.

Ali declined through his attorney to comment for this article. Both SMRH and D&A issued court responses denying the lawsuit’s allegations and asked that the case be dismissed.

Savannah Ghost Pirates reach agreement with city to practice, launch youth league at the MLK arena

The Savannah Ghost Pirates will be practicing at the Martin Luther King Jr. Arena, while also teaching the youngsters how to play by establishing a recreational youth hockey league. The public will also get a chance to show off their own skills on the ice during public skating events, under the recently approved agreement with the city.

The monthly lease agreement gives the minor league hockey team the right to use the arena until May 31, 2023 at a rate of $6,000 a month, plus 65% of the electric bill.

click to enlarge PROPERTY MATTERS: Savannah Mall buyer, Ghost Pirates launching youth league, A new Jazz club?
The gray area shows where the heavy industrial is proposed, while the green shows wetlands and yellow shows protective buffers. SEDA is proposing to keep the blue potion adjacent to residential communities zoned Light Industrial.

Zoning change rejected for Savannah industrial park, following $5M investment in tax-supported site

The Savannah Economic Development Authority (SEDA) says it needs to rezone about 513 acres of a 630-acre industrial park from Light Industrial to Heavy Industrial to allow more intense manufacturing and attract the type of  businesses that will create high-paying jobs and boost the local economy.

The request is being made about six years after SEDA purchased the site about 15 miles west of downtown Savannah using $3 million in revenue derived from voter-approved sales-tax funds, along with more than $2 million of SEDA’s own funds. Thing is, many of the surrounding residents are opposed to the rezoning due to concerns about increased truck traffic, environmental impacts, health issues and decreased property values.

Last week, a majority of the Metropolitan Planning Commission sided with the residents by voting 5-4 to deny the rezoning request. The MPC’s recommendation will next be considered by the Savannah City Council, which has the ultimate say over whether the property will be rezoned.

The rezoning petition comes about a month after Igneo Technologies submitted a site plan for an electronic waste recovery complex on a portion of the site. However, the proposed facility, which is the first announced business coming to the manufacturing center, is not dependent on the zoning change, according to SEDA officials. 

Jazz club and bar, building expansion planned for downtown Savannah

A vape shop, taco restaurant and its courtyard in downtown Savannah may be replaced with a jazz club and bar in a renovated and expanded building, according to a petition that went before the Historic District Board of Review last week.

Rose Architects, on behalf of the building’s owner, is proposing alterations to the existing building at 111 West Congress St. and construction of an adjacent two-story addition, with a roof deck and indoor-outdoor patio, where Orale Tacos + currently has an outdoor seating area.

Consideration of the petition was postponed until the Nov. 9 meeting after some review board members requested some design changes.


Published October 18, 2022 at 4:00 a.m.

Eric Curl

Connect Savannah Freelance Correspondent I Eric Curl is probably reading building permits, sales records and meeting agendas. He writes Property Matters to share what he finds. You can find the column, along with other stories, cartoons and quizzes about local matters at Savannahagenda.com.
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