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The Heart Of Downtown Atlanta Needs A New Master Plan, GWCCA Says

The Georgia World Congress Center, including the new Signia by Hilton Atlanta hotel, set to open in January.

The authority that manages the 22 acres in Downtown Atlanta that encompasses one of the country's largest convention centers, Centennial Olympic ParkMercedes-Benz Stadium and the College Football Hall of Fame is looking for someone to create a new vision for its future growth.

The Georgia World Congress Center Authority, the state agency that oversees the operations of the 3.9M SF convention center and surrounding properties, issued a request for qualifications Wednesday, seeking a group to update its campus master plan that could include turning some of the properties on its land into "revenue-generating" developments.

“With recent changes in the development environment around the GWCC campus, GWCCA needs an updated Campus Master Plan to assess the impacts of that changed environment on our properties and facilities,” GWCC stated in the RFQ.

The GWCC, the fourth-largest convention center in the U.S., is in the heart of Downtown Atlanta and bound by Ivan Allen Jr. Boulevard, Northside Drive, Andrew Young International Boulevard and Elliott Street and includes three convention center halls as well as the stadium, park and Hall of Fame museum.

The GWCCA is finishing construction on a 975-room convention hotel, the tallest new hotel for the city in 40 years, next to Mercedes-Benz Stadium, where the NFL's Atlanta Falcons play, which will be operated by Hilton under its Signia flag when it opens next year.

The master plan is in response to the development boom happening around GWCCA's property, most notably with CIM Group underway with Centennial Yards and Newport’s redevelopment of South Downtown. Some developers are racing to be completed by 2026, the year that Atlanta will be one of 11 U.S. cities to host the FIFA World Cup, played at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, which is projected to give the city a $415M net economic benefit

The GWCCA also is seeking to modernize one of the three convention center buildings, to improve “connections to hotel and entertainment areas,” including to Centennial Yards, the Peachtree Street corridor, Mitchell Street in South Downtown and Castleberry Hill, expand its meeting space with a potential dedicated conference center and find ways to improve internal connections between existing GWCC facilities, according to the RFQ.

GWCCA spokesperson Holly Richmond declined to comment.

The authority last unveiled a master plan in 2008, which sought to expand the GWCC campus to include a replacement for the Georgia Dome, which eventually became Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

Atlanta’s convention business also continues to improve since the pandemic, with 20 large events taking place in the city in 2022, up from a dozen the year before, according to Atlanta Convention and Visitors Bureau data reported by the Atlanta Business Chronicle

The authority didn't disclose a budget for the master plan in documents, but said it intends to choose a winning bidder by September.