The Enmarket Arena represents nearly 20 years of effort to construct a first-class, sustainable arena that provides a flexible and usable sports and entertainment venue to the public. Originally funded by the City of Savannah’s 2014 SPLOST 6 program, in 2019, the City made good on its promise to move this project forward by selecting the Perkins&Will team to provide design and construction administration services for the development of a 9,500-seat, 215,000 SF arena.
The development of the new $165 million arena site is considered the catalyst project in an overall effort to develop the entire surrounding Canal District – a 55-acre area to the west of Savannah’s historic downtown core that presents the opportunity to reimagine the Canal District to the west of West Boundary Street, creating a vibrant new center of activity.
The Canal District around the Enmarket Arena is expected to feature a 55-acre park with lakes, walking and biking paths, and athletic fields. The Springfield Canal will also be widened to improve drainage and accommodate recreational boating. A plaza similar to the Savannah Riverwalk will line the widened canal east of the arena site at Gwinnett Street and Stiles Avenue and road improvements are being made to better accommodate bicyclists, pedestrians and vehicles, and provide improved connections to downtown. The area of focus lies west of Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard between Louisville Road and Interstate 16, amid the Carver Village community to the west and Brickyard neighborhood to the north. The district is expected to bridge historic neighborhoods that have been separated from downtown by vacant, underutilized industrial space. The improvements are all planned for property the City already owns. Additional housing, retail and office development on vacant, former industrial sites on the east side of the canal and other surrounding areas is expected to follow. It is estimated that it will take 15-20 years for design and construction of the entire Canal District to take place.
As a subconsultant to Perkins&Will, Hussey Gay Bell provided site/civil engineering including grading, drainage, erosion control and on- and off-site utility designs and associated ancillary parking in addition to surveying, permitting and construction phase services. Hussey Gay Bell also assisted Perkins&Will with the overall Canal District master plan and public outreach.
Enmarket Arena was delivered via a fast-track, CM-at-Risk method via a joint venture of AECOM Hunt with overall project management provided with Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL). Despite being designed and constructed during the Covid-19 pandemic which created labor shortages and supply chain issues for materials and equipment, the project team was able to deliver the project on time and within budget. LEED certification is anticipated.
The magnitude of the project required a variety of civil improvement projects – on and offsite-utilities, upgrades to existing infrastructure, roadway systems improvements, grading/drainage/erosion control for vertical facilities and more – to be delivered in tandem, which required immense design and phased construction coordination.
[Images & Video: Courtesy of Perkins&Will.]