Enmarket Partners with Bethesda Academy on Commercial Project

Staff Report

Wednesday, December 6th, 2023

Enmarket and Bethesda Academy, both prominent organizations with century-plus histories in Savannah, Ga., have entered into an innovative agreement that will bring a new Enmarket store and a Bethesda Welcome Center to the Skidaway Island area.

The new store will be located at the intersection of Diamond Causeway and Ferguson Ave., and will offer a variety of convenience items, including fresh food, beverages, and fuel. The Bethesda Welcome Center will be located adjacent to the store and will provide visitors with information about the school’s history, programs, and admissions process. 

Bethesda Academy, established in 1740 as an orphanage and school by renowned evangelist George Whitefield, holds the distinction of being the oldest continuously operating child-caring institution in the United States. Over its rich history, Bethesda Academy has educated and nurtured countless individuals, fostering a legacy of academic excellence, spiritual growth, and character development. Now, it is an independent private day school for young men in grades six through twelve. 

Bethesda holds extensive acreage, some of which is already under commercial use near the planned Enmarket development, including the Kroger shopping center at the south end of Ferguson Ave. and Diamond Causeway intersection, a commercial partnership established for over 40 years. The Enmarket leasing agreement will provide a sustainable funding source allowing Bethesda Academy to offer exceptional educational programs for generations to come. The store’s design will complement Bethesda Academy’s historic campus, ensuring a harmonious blend of traditional and contemporary styles.

“We are excited to develop this property which will give our students more opportunity,” said Dr. Mike Hughes, president of Bethesda Academy. “Enmarket is a family-owned and operated business that shares Bethesda Academy’s commitment to community engagement and enriching the lives of those it serves. This partnership with Enmarket aligns seamlessly with Bethesda Academy’s values and vision.”

The mature live oaks on the adjacent Old Bethesda Road will be preserved, and future developers are forever prohibited from cutting trees over 16 inches in diameter unless approved by Chatham County’s arborist.

“As a nonprofit school, Bethesda is dependent on community support. We are proud to partner with Bethesda Academy to offer sustainable funding support for the school’s future,” said Matt Clements, president of Enmarket. 

Lease proceeds will help to support the work of a learning specialist and student success center that work to develop and implement individualized learning plans for every student. Bethesda Academy recognizes the unique teaching and learning approaches that work best with boys. 

Enmarket signed the lease deal with Bethesda Academy a couple of years ago. As lingering right-of-way issues have been resolved, Enmarket is prepared to begin its development in early 2024.