Broughton Street seeing upgrades, business turnover

BySean Evans|March 22, 2021 at 6:57 AM EDT - Updated March 22 at 7:21 AM

SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - Broughton Street is not only seeing some streetscape upgrades, but also some business turnover.

If you walk down Broughton Street, you’ll notice about a half dozen storefronts that are available to lease.

Whether local businesses or large chains, some have been in these locations for years. But for reasons either tied to the pandemic, simply wanting to move elsewhere, or even retirement, some business owners are packing up and moving out.

Leaders with Savannah’s economic development department closely watch these trends and offer up resources for business owners, including access to incentives and capital. The department director told us recently the ebb and flow of businesses leaving and coming in, even during the pandemic, can be a good thing.

“A sign of a healthy business corridor is it can lose a business here and a few months later a new one comes in. As long as we’re seeing that I think we’re in good shape, and I think that’s where we are,” said Manny Dominguez, Director, Office of Business Opportunity.

Dominguez added he believes the Broughton Street corridor, in particular, will be fine as the economy normalizes.

WTOC checked in with local commercial real estate experts in Savannah about the state of downtown commercial corridors. They say the openings and closings of storefronts, especially national chains, are based on consumer trends.

Lori Judge, founder and CEO of Judge Realty, says what she’s seeing is more local and regional retailers moving in. And even though it may look like there are a lot of vacant storefronts along Savannah’s Broughton Street, most are already leased or don’t stay vacant for long.

“So having that experience and seeing local retailers is actually creating more vibrancy to our community. And I feel like it’s making our streets stronger. And I think it’s a great trend. We have these beautiful buildings, this incredible historic district, and it’s just an exciting time to be part of this change and transformation,” said Judge.

And speaking of transformation, theBroughton streetscape improvementsare continuing. The latest stretch, from Barnard to Montgomery streets, is expected to be completed by mid-April.

Copyright 2021 WTOC. All rights reserved.

Photo: WTOC

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