It’s Amazing shut its doors for good on Oct. 1, when the beauty shop’s last customers grabbed up deals they could find among the empty walls and 50-percent discount signs. Located at 2011 Waters Avenue, the store’s owner failed to get the city to extend the lease, a long-term rental agreement that had blocked the city’s plans for the site for years.
The shuttering of the business after 13 years at the location spurred mixed opinions among some recent customers. Primarily their focus was on what the site could be and the possibilities that can come from it, with at least one shopper concerned about gentrification. A couple customers said a kids’ facility would be appropriate, with so many families, especially single-parent households, struggling to balance the challenge of raising their children and earn a living.
Others expressed concern about a lack of access to healthy food, especially for elders and people with disabilities, and expressed their preference for a grocery store.
Savannah Alderman Detric Leggett indicated the city may support that idea.
“What has always been the object for the property on 37th and Waters was to convert back to a food source for the surrounding area,” Leggett said in a texted response when asked about the city’s plans for the site. “As we are all aware of, we are in a food desert, the elderly and the physically challenged can use a close source of food in a reasonable walking distance”.
When the city bought the shopping center in 2009, the plans were to convert it into a police station. That plan was eventually dropped, and It’s Amazing’s long-term lease, which was in place when the city bought the property, prevented efforts to repurpose the site. In 2015, the city came close. After soliciting proposals, the Savannah City Council approved the $1.7 million sale to a company that had wanted to build a grocery store at the location. Ultimately, the deal fell through after the beauty shop opted for a five-year lease extension, which was included in the original rental agreement.
City spokesperson Nick Zoller said the city is currently evaluating the future use of the property.
It’s Amazing was the last commercial tenant of the shopping center, but Chatham County has a lease with the city for the Family Justice Center in a renovated space on the east side of the building until June 30, 2022. It is unclear if the justice center is operating there currently or if it would continue occupying the space following the lease’s expiration.
A sign on the door reads that the center has temporarily paused providing services and referrals at the location.
Eric Curl contributed to this story
Editor’s Note: This story is a collaborative effort between Savannah Agenda and The Current to help train local young people interested in a career in journalism.