Looking back at 2018 Savannah Economic Development Authority leaders have millions of reasons to celebrate. In 2018 the organization helped create 1,906 new job opportunities and facilitate more than $500 million in private investment to the surrounding area.
“Our mission at SEDA is to grow jobs, attract investments and keep what we have and 2018 was a great year,” SEDA president and CEO Trip Tollison told the crowd of about 1,000 people gathered at the Savannah Convention Center Wednesday morning for the organization’s annual meeting.
Contributing to the job creation, online home goods retailer Wayfair announced late last year that they will bring 1,000 jobs to the area with a 1.2-million-square-foot e-commerce facility in the Savannah River International Trade Park as part of a $45 million investment. It was the largest warehouse/distribution and e-commerce project announced in SEDA’s recorded history.
Other notable events last year included numerous groundbreakings, new programs and the continued growth of film and television productions.
In April, SEDA broke ground for the 719-acre Savannah Manufacturing Center off of Old River Road. The property, which is in close proximity to both the Georgia Ports Authority and Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport, has a master plan for between 3.25 million and 3.5 million square-feet of industrial building space. Individual parcels from 24 to 193 acres are available. Tollison said he hopes to have the site open and ready for business later this year. “It’s going to truly be a revolutionary park,” he said. “We have plenty of land next door to expand, hopefully in the future. We think this is going to be wonderful for things to come.”
In May in the organization helped to launch TradeBridge in conjunction the World Trade Center Savannah and the county of Wexford, Ireland. The pilot program aims to connect Coastal Georgia and Irish businesses through everything from direct sales to distribution partnerships and has resulted in nearly 30 companies working on business deals.
The entertainment industry also helped contribute to the record breaking year, bringing in $120.1 million in direct spending in 2018. Total economic impact for the region was $254 million. The 2018 numbers are up from last year, when direct spending was $65 million with an economic impact of $138 million. The investment was spread across 147 student productions and 208 professional productions, including one of the year’s biggest productions, “Gemini Man,” directed by Academy Award winner Ang Lee. The film stars Will Smith, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Clive Owen and Benedict Wong. Savannah also landed Disney’s “Lady and The Tramp,” the Hulu anthology “The Act,” starring Patricia Arquette, Chloë Sevigny and Joey King, as well as Pop TV’s new comedy series “Florida Girls.”
“It was a terrific year,” Tollison said. “It was one of the best in SEDA’s history and we’ve been around for 92 years.”
For additional information, please contact LeAndrea Mikell, Programs and Marketing Coordinator at World Trade Center Savannah, firstname.lastname@example.org.