Plant Riverside is a $270 million mixed-use redevelopment that will transform the landscape of the west end of Savannah’s Riverwalk. Built in 1912, the power plant, owned by Georgia Power, was once Savannah’s sole source of power until the mid-1950s. Decommissioned in 2005, the shuttered and abandoned power plant is now being revitalized into a pair of ultra-chic hotels that will be part of The Kessler Collection of luxurious boutique hotels, as well as an entertainment district along Savannah’s iconic Riverwalk. For over 100 years, this 4.5-acre section of the riverwalk has been closed to the public. The 670,000-square foot development is slated to debut in 2018 and is the largest piece of undeveloped national historic district land in the United States.
Plant Riverside will feature two themed boutique hotels featuring 422-guestrooms and suites, over 26,000 square feet of meeting and event space, more than 11 upscale food and beverage offerings, live music and entertainment venue, a natural science museum, a park honoring Martin Luther King, Jr., a rooftop bar overlooking the Savannah River, a 4,000-square foot Grand Bohemian Art Gallery, and diverse retail outlets. The redevelopment will retain the industrial look and feel of the former Georgia Power plant.
Thomas & Hutton is providing consulting services, including urban design, land planning, hardscape design, landscape architecture, structural design, permitting, construction services, and a variety of engineering disciplines for this adaptive re-use project. Thomas & Hutton was involved through the entitlement process, has completed a schematic design, and is in final design. The design scope includes structural and civil components related to a riverwalk and bulkhead, tunnels to connect the buildings, water, sewer, drainage, grading, paving, and erosion control. The project was completed in Civil 3D and coordinated with the architectural Revit models in an effort to create a complete working model for the buildings and the site.
Unique Aspects/Challenges: Thomas and Hutton was fortunate to be the Civil Designer, Marine Structural Designer, and Landscape Architect for this transformative redevelopment project. For each of the disciplines, the project had many unique design challenges. The project is located adjacent to the Savannah River and within a floodplain. The finished floors of the buildings are four feet below the base flood elevation. Because of this, many different floodproofing design techniques were utilized for building and utilities. To fortify the river’s edge, we designed an 1,100-foot sheet pile bulkhead. The design also included a pile supported Riverwalk that will be owned by the City of Savannah and open to the public to enjoy. The Riverwalk includes a performance platform where guests and the public will enjoy concerts.
The stormwater for a large portion of our downtown’s historic district is currently routed through the project by a brick storm pipe that is likely over 100 years old. Because of its poor condition, this storm pipe needed to be rerouted and redesigned. This design presented many challenges because of the underlying soil and a number of conflicts with existing and proposed utilities.The landscape architecture, in coordination with our in-house engineering team, is tasked to create a meticulously detailed landscape and hardscape design for those from near and afar to enjoy for generations. One of the many challenges is the engineered above and below grade infrastructure. All of Thomas & Hutton’s disciplines were tasked with designing an intricately detailed hardscape to create key outdoor social interaction spaces for a larger urban development within Savannah’s Historic Landmark District for both the pedestrian and motorist.
Other unique aspects of this project is it’s the largest piece of undeveloped national historic district land in the United States. This transformative project is taking an abandoned and blighted facility and converting it into luxurious hotels and an entertainment district in Savannah’s National Historic Landmark District. This adaptive re-use project will retain the original look and feel of the brick façade of the former Georgia Power plant.