Last week, the Savannah City Council gave the thumbs up to Ale Yeah, a craft beer store that's headed for 1207 Bull St., between Duffy and Henry streets. We'll keep an eye out for an opening date.

That space, which is in the middle of a building that runs on the west side of Bull Street from Duffy Street to Duffy Lane, was formerly occupied by a variety shop.

The ground floor commercial units have been unoccupied for several months, but it seems inevitable that we'll see other businesses like the beer market that will try to fit the general character of that active area at the south end of the park.

Nearby on Bull Street, you'll find Local 11 Ten, American Legion Post 135 and Betty Bombers. Brighter Day Natural Foods is at the corner of Bull Street and Park Avenue. Around the corner on Park are the Sentient Bean and the wine store Le Chai.

On the first block of West Duffy Street, you'll find Motorini, which specializes in Vespa and Piaggio scooters.

I've written often in recent years about the changing commercial and cultural landscape along the Bull Street corridor south of Forsyth Park, but it's worth saying that there are some major obstacles and question marks ahead.

We're seeing a resurgence in interest on Bull Street from Park Avenue to Victory Drive, but don't expect a seamless, cohesive stretch of commercial establishments, residences and mixed-use development. At least not any time soon.

The old Sears building would no doubt sell if the current owner had a price that the market would bear, but for now we've got an entire city block between Duffy and Henry streets that is a drag on the neighborhood.

Just south of the old Sears structure, the BellSouth building also occupies a full block. There are a number of small businesses on the west side of Bull Street between Henry and Anderson streets, but the behemoth on the east side hurts the pedestrian experience.

South of Anderson Street is a stretch with lovely churches, which certainly add much to the neighborhood character. But you'll also find large church parking lots taking up key stretches of Bull Street frontage. They are detrimental to the pedestrian experience and hurt neighborhood vibrancy.

A cluster of businesses have settled near the corner of Bull and 32nd streets, and from there to Victory Drive the historic character of the corridor is largely intact.

There are ways to bridge the gap between Duffy Lane and 32nd Street to make the corridor feel more cohesive, but none of the solutions will come easily or quickly.


City Talk appears every Sunday and Tuesday. Bill Dawers can be reached via Send mail to 10 E. 32nd St., Savannah, GA 31401.