by Jeanne Brei
The Georgia World Congress Center, located in downtown Atlanta adjacent to CNN Center and State Farm Arena, has a 220-acre campus which includes Centennial Olympic Park, the College Football Hall of Fame, the Junior Achievement Discovery Center and the state-of-the-art Mercedes-Benz Stadium (which replaced the Georgia Dome in 2017).
The 3.9 million-square-foot facility is made up of three adjacent buildings, Buildings A, B, and C and is the fourth largest convention center in the country. Building A has three exhibit halls and the Sidney Marcus auditorium seating 1,740. Building B, the largest, contains five exhibit halls and the 33,000 square-foot Thomas B. Murphy Ballroom. The newest building, Building C, has four exhibit halls and the 25,700 square-foot Georgia Ballroom. Freight rail tracks run through the middle of the complex and under the parking decks. The complex incorporates pedestrian bridges to connect exhibit halls on opposite sides of the tracks. Coming development includes the GWCC’s B/C Exhibit Hall project (building a fixed gateway between exhibit halls in Buildings B and C to create over 1 million square feet of contiguous exhibition space), the Andrew Young International Blvd. project, an on-site convention headquarters hotel and a new parking deck.
The GWCC proudly states, “The hallmark of the GWCCA campus is connectivity. The connections between our venues, the hotel district, and the world’s busiest airport are key differentiators in Atlanta’s ability to compete for in-demand conventions and tradeshows.”
Another source of great pride for the GWCC is that they are the world’s largest LEED certified convention center, achieving Gold re-certification in 2017. Committed to minimizing its environmental footprint and enhancing the quality of life for all, the GWCCA believes sustainability and corporate social responsibility are integral to its success. They spent $28 million to upgrade lighting, chillers and other equipment; this investment is expected to reduce annual utility costs by at least 39 percent. Solar panels in the GWCC’s truck marshalling yard produce enough electricity to power 89 homes in Georgia each year. In 2016, more than 1.25 million aluminum containers were recycled from events at the Georgia Dome—the value of which built a home in the nearby English Avenue neighborhood through Habitat for Humanity. Since 2008, 14 million pounds of materials have been diverted from landfills through recycling, composting and reuse. A herd of goats used for landscaping and “fertilizer” reduces fossil fuels and chemicals used, emissions, and noise by nearly 50 percent. They recently installed 60,000 LED lamps on the FWCCA campus resulting in 70 percent energy savings, 500 percent increase in bulb life, improved lighting level and the ability to individually control lighting levels in exhibit halls. In 2016, 110,000 pounds of food were donated to local food banks following the International Diary, Deli and Bakery Association conference.
From literacy and mentoring programs at neighborhood schools to massive food bank donations, the GWCCA is proud to be involved in the local community. Says the GWCCA, “Our team is specialized in disciplines across the board, from plumbers and painters to administration and leadership. In FY18, our team gifted our community partners 338 hours of time to help fill critical needs. We also have periodic opportunities for outside groups to volunteer with us on our campus. Let us mobilize our team or yours to make tangible, meaningful impacts.”
The CC Snapshot: The Georgia World Congress Center
Location: 285 Andrew Young International Blvd NW, Atlanta, Georgia 30313
Year Opened: September 14, 1976 as a 350,000 sq.ft. exhibition hall hosting the Bobbin Show/American Apparel Manuf. Assoc. tradeshow. As the first state-owned center in the U.S., the GWCC Authority also developed the Georgia Dome (demolished in 2017), the 21-acre Centennial Olympic Park and Mercedes Benz Stadium to create a 220-acre meetings hub in the heart of downtown Atlanta.
Size: 3.9 million-sq.ft. facility, with 1.5 million- sq.ft. of exhibit space, 12 exhibit halls, 98 meeting rooms, two ballrooms and three landscaped outdoor plazas.
Ranking: Fourth largest convention center in the U.S. (behind Chicago, Orlando and Las Vegas)
Renovations: Phase II added 1.1 million sq.ft. in 1985, Phase III increased exhibit space to 950,000 sq.ft. in eight exhibit halls and opened the Georgia Dome in 1992, Phase IV added 420,000 sq.ft. of prime exhibit space in 2002. Currently building a fixed gateway between exhibit halls in Buildings B and C to create over 1 million sq.ft. of contiguous exhibition space as well as breaking ground on a new luxury 1,000-room Signia Hilton hotel this fall adjacent to Building C (site of the old Georgia Dome).
Parking: Visit www.gwccparking.com to reserve a parking spot—there’s even a hotlink for ESCA—or use the ParkMobile app to reserve parking at the GWCC.
Hotels: There are 181 hotels within a mile of GWCC.
Airport Info: Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport is about 10 miles from the GWCC; 38 minutes by the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA), a bus and rail system that connects all parts of Atlanta, including a station at the airport that goes to the GWCC/downtown. A $2.50 fare covers one-way bus/train trips, including transfers.
These stories originally appeared in the May/June issue of Exhibit City News, pg. 10 (CC Snapshot) and pg. 60 (CC Spotlight). For original layout, visit https://issuu.com/exhibitcitynews/docs/ecnflipbook_mayjune_2019_web