Savannah Tech to expand Culinary Arts program to downtown Savannah

Savannah, GA – Savannah Technical College Foundation has purchased 7 West Bay Street as the new downtown location for an expansion of Savannah Technical College’s Culinary Arts program.

“We are excited to bring this opportunity for our students, our hospitality industry partners, visitors to our great city and Savannah area residents,” said STC President Dr. Kathy Love. “We have one of the top Culinary Arts programs in the U.S., and will provide even more real-world training for our students with the operational restaurant and bakery.”

This purchase was one of the top five strategic priorities for the Foundation’s capital campaign that raised $7.2 million. “We recognized that to truly serve our hospitality partners, we had to expand our capacity,” said Dr. Love. “Our first choice has always been downtown Savannah.”

The Savannah Technical College Foundation supports the mission, students and programs of the College. “It is especially fitting that we help bring great opportunities like this for students in an already excellent program,” said Savannah Technical College Foundation Board of Trustees Chairman Sam McCachern. “We have graduates working at nearly all of the top restaurants, and we know that with Savannah Culinary Institute downtown, even more students and graduates will be working.”

The expansion will more than double the available instructional space for Culinary Arts and Baking& Pastry Arts. Senior level (second year) students will take classes and work in the bakery and restaurant. Entry-level (first year) students will continue to take courses in the teaching kitchen and classrooms at the College’s campus on White Bluff.

“To continue to offer great real-world opportunities like this, we have to raise additional private support from our community,” said McCachern. “Savannah deserves the very best, and the Savannah Culinary Institute will bring it.”

With only 3,000-square-feet of classroom, lab and cooking space, Savannah Tech has had extremely limited resources at the Savannah campus. The kitchen operates 16 hours a day Monday through Thursday, plus four hours on Friday. Four years ago, the College designated one classroom on the Savannah Campus as sugar and chocolate lab, allowing additional space beyond the kitchen to be dedicated to culinary arts instruction. With the success of the Baking and Pastry Arts program, classes are full, and the College is unable to offer enough sections to meet demands.

“Savannah Tech’s project will help tremendously in training a much-needed skilled workforce,” said Tourism Leadership Council President/CEO Michael T. Owens. “In addition to the large number of vacancies in our food and beverage outlets today, we estimate more than 2,000 jobs will be coming online in the next few years. The project will provide a crucial and convenient epicenter of both classroom and real-world experience for students to prepare to take on a career of success and satisfaction.”

The bakery (breakfast/lunch) and restaurant (lunch/dinner) will be staffed by Culinary Arts and Hotel, Restaurant, Tourism Management students and faculty, hospitality interns and students as a part of their instructional programs. The menu is projected to be set daily in keeping with classroom instruction. The hands-on, real-world experience in the restaurant will allow students the opportunity to apply techniques learned in the classroom to practical use, complete a required field placement, and gain first-hand experience in running a restaurant and serving the general public.

STC’s Department Chair for Culinary Arts Chef Jean Vendeville and his chef instructor team have offered master classes to the public and plan to expand these classes at the downtown location. Half of the second floor will be used for a master class demonstration kitchen continuing education master classes.

Visit Savannah President Joe Marinelli is excited about the College’s new downtown location: “We are confident that this new venture is exactly what is needed in our community. Our most current research shows that culinary experiences rank second (after shopping) as it relates to what our visitors are most interested in while in our area. Culinary tourism is at an all-time high nationally, and we see the same trends here in Savannah with an exploding restaurant and dining scene.”

The Savannah Culinary Institute, an American Culinary Federation-accredited culinary arts program, has been described as the “best in the U.S.A” by its ACF accreditation review board. According to his committee chair, the Culinary Institute of Savannah, offering ACF-accredited diploma and degree programs in culinary arts, has gone “well over and above the standards and expectations for a technical college teaching facility.” The committee recommended that the program receive the maximum accreditation time of seven years, when the average is three years. Culinary Arts and Baking & Pastry Arts associate degree graduates have a 100% placement rate in their field since 2015. The program has earned regional and national recognition with ACF-sponsored competitions. For more information visit:

7 West Bay Building/Purchase:
  • 14,456 sq ft
  • 7 three floors + full basement 14,456 sq ft
  • $2.9M purchase price; Seller is Callen Trust
  • Renovation estimates: $2.8 M; Foundation is raising additional funds to support renovation
Building Projected Use Overview:
  • Basement:
    • Instructional kitchen 2,500 sq ft (classes and to support restaurant operations)
  • First floor:
    • Baking lab 1,000 sq ft (seats 20, grab-and-go counter, breakfast and lunch)
    • Restaurant 2,000 sq ft (seats 60, lunch and dinner)
  • Second floor:
    • Demonstration kitchen 1,500 sq ft (continuing education/demo and event space seating for 25-40)
  • Third floor:
    • Classrooms (3@600) 1,800 sq ft (lecture style)
    • Conference room
  • Throughout building:
    • Support 1,700 sq ft (offices, conference, locker room, dishwashing, dry/cold storage)
Pre-Purchase Diligence Partners:
  • LS3P – Neil Dawson and Brenda Pearson (architectural services)
  • West Construction – Matt West (renovation estimates)
  • Tharpe Engineering – Cody Tharpe (structural assessment)
  • Gilbert & Ezell Real Estate Services – Harvey Gilbert (real estate agent)
  • HunterMaclean (legal services)
  • Terracon (Environmental and GEPA assessments)


1825 | June 18, 2018

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Savannah Technical College serves Coastal Georgia with quality, market-driven technical education with campus locations in Chatham, Effingham and Liberty Counties. Serving more than 10,000 credit and non-credit students annually, Savannah Tech offers nearly 150 different instructional programs in Aviation Technology, Business and Professional Services, Industrial Technology, and Health Sciences in addition to Adult Education classes, industry-specific training and continuing education. The College serves as an economic and community development partner for the region, offering corporate and customized training and assessment programs for business and industry.

Savannah Technical College is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) to award associate degrees, diplomas and technical certificates of credit. Questions about the accreditation of Savannah Technical College may be directed in writing to the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges at 1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, GA 30033-4097, by calling (404) 679-4500, or by using information available on SACSCOC’s website (