Proposal to turn property at the Oglethorpe Mall into apartments

Published: Nov. 11, 2021 at 3:51 PM EST
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SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - A rezoning application has been submitted for the property surrounding what used to be a Sears at the Oglethorpe Mall for it to be turned into a multi-family living complex.

The first steps have been taken to turn part of the mall area into apartment complexes. That has some local businesses, like La Parilla, excited for what could be to come.

“For us man really, La Parilla, it creates a bigger family for us. It really is going to bring a lot more people to the restaurant and make a whole lot more people happy for us and get them to enjoy some good food,” said Brian Badillo, an assistant manager at the restaurant.

He says since the start of the pandemic, the restaurant has seen less customers.

“Nowadays after COVID, it’s a pretty familiarized. It’s a lot more families coming out. People don’t, honestly don’t come out too much by themselves nowadays, honestly it’s more of a special event,” Badillo said.

Businesses aren’t the only ones hoping this proposed 200-plus unit property gets through the Metropolitan Planning Commission. The district’s alderman, Nick Palumbo, sees this as a great opportunity for the area.

“Oglethorpe Mall has got a little bit of age on it and it’s gone through multiple iterations but having that demand for housing nearby is going to help it be more successful, because we know the people who live here, are going to shop right nearby and enjoy those restaurants and retail spaces,” Alderman Palumbo said.

He says transforming this space to more housing would be a benefit to the city but emphasizes council would want it done the best way possible to set a precedent.

“I imagine that we’re all going to be very, very excited about this because we want to see those old, abandoned spaces converted to a new use, but at the same time we have to do it right, to make sure that the next ones and set that cadence so the next one, and the next one, and the next one do well,” Palumbo said.

With the application having been submitted, the next step here is for the MPC review and analyze that proposal and then bring it to city council.

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