Atlanta’s Convention District Upgrades Mean More Efficient Meetings

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Author: Sarah Beauchamp       

Georgia World Congress Center Authority

The Fountain of Rings Plaza at Centennial Olympic Park in Atlanta will be renovated as part of an update of the Georgia World Congress Center Authority campus.

The Georgia World Congress Center Authority (GWCCA) campus — the largest combined convention, sports, and entertainment campus in North America — is undergoing significant developments. They include a $27-million re-envisioning of Centennial Olympic Park and the addition of the Georgia World Congress Center headquarters hotel, the 30-story, 1,000-room Signia Hilton, offering 75,000 square feet of meeting space. Once GWCCA’s 2020 Vision is complete, the campus will be greener, be more walkable, and offer a wider variety of event venues.

“The new additions on the GWCCA campus will increase efficiency for our meeting planners and offer upgraded indoor and outdoor venue capabilities,” Mark Vaughan, Atlanta Convention and Visitors Bureau’s executive vice president and chief sales officer, said. “Enhancements made around GWCCA reinforce our walkable convention and entertainment district by reducing traffic and creating pedestrian-friendly pathways throughout the campus.”

The group aims to make the campus more walkable through the Andrew Young International Boulevard Project, which will blend pedestrian traffic with dedicated bus and ride-share options, aiding attendee movement while relieving congestion along Marietta Street. Once the project is complete, the district will be easier to navigate for both delegates and organizers.

Georgia World Congress Center Authority

The Mercedes-Benz Stadium added more outdoor event space this year. (All photos courtesy Atlanta Convention & Visitors Bureau)

Plus, Centennial Olympic Park is incorporating a network of bike paths. The park, which provides natural seating for 20,000 people, will add close to an acre of green space, in addition to a new water wall at the north entrance, making for a scenic backdrop for outdoor events. There will be renovations to the West-Lawn Promenade, the Fountain of Rings Plaza, and the park’s amphitheater. Also added to the park is Atlanta’s newest selfie spot, The Spectacular, an 11-by-23-foot aluminum sculpture depicting the Olympic rings.

Host to Super Bowl LIII this year, Mercedes-Benz Stadium added more outdoor event space with the opening of the new Home Depot Backyard, an eco-friendly meeting option adjacent to the stadium and convention center. The 11-acre outdoor multipurpose space brings together local residents and visitors, and is available for everything from tailgating to cocktail receptions.

Georgia World Congress Center Authority

The Georgia World Congress Center Authority will double its exhibit space to more than 1.1 million square feet when Exhibit Hall C (above) and B are completed.

Opening in 2022, the Signia Hilton convention center hotel will provide planners with additional meeting space, complete with world-class design; elevated food and beverage offerings; and a hands-on events team. Meanwhile, the nearby 1.4 million-square-foot, LEED Gold-certified GWCC — which includes 12 exhibit halls, 98 meeting rooms, two ballrooms, three fixed-seat auditoriums, and three outdoor plazas — is doubling its contiguous, multiuse exhibit space to more than 1.1 million square feet with the addition of the B/C exhibit hall, and undergoing aesthetic and architectural updates with new carpeting, terrazzo flooring, and more natural lighting.

Many of the changes come just in time for Atlanta to host the 2020 NCAA® Men’s Final Four® at Mercedes-Benz Stadium April 4-6, and the Division II and Division III championships, held at the nearby 21,000-seat State Farm Arena on April 5 — officially earning the conference district championship campus status. The updates to GWCCA’s campus reinforce Atlanta’s commitment to expanding and improving its convention offerings.

“2020 Vision is the single largest development Atlanta’s convention business has experienced since the opening of Georgia World Congress Center in 1976,” Vaughan said. “The new additions to the GWCC campus continue to position the city positively for new business and allow us to adapt to expanding convention needs as home to the fourth-largest convention center in the country.

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