What’s New in Atlanta

Thursday, August 29, 2002

Thriving Atlanta continues pleasing residents and visitors alike. The city is continuously announcing renovations and openings that strengthen Atlanta’s appeal.

The Coca-Cola Company has donated land across from Centennial Olympic Park in downtown Atlanta for the Georgia Aquarium and a new World of Coca-Cola – creating a major entertainment destination in Atlanta’s convention corridor.

The five million gallon Georgia Aquarium, slated to open its doors to the public in 2005 along with the new World of Coca-Cola, is expected to make the northwest section of downtown Atlanta, already occupied by Centennial Olympic Park, the Georgia Dome, Philips Arena, the Tabernacle, CNN Center and the planned Children’s Museum, a turnkey tourist attraction. Additionally, the plans should help create a 24-hour atmosphere in the area around Centennial Olympic Park that is developing into the hospitality, entertainment and residential heart of Atlanta and attract even more restaurants, retail, nightlife and other attractions to the area.

The Georgia Aquarium, at 5 million gallons and 250,000 square feet, will be among the largest and most elaborate in the nation with both freshwater and saltwater fish and mammals. A $200 million contribution by Home Depot co-founder Bernie Marcus has helped to underwrite what promises to be one of Atlanta’s greatest attractions.

World of Coca-Cola will be moving from its Underground Atlanta site to the new area beside the aquarium, sharing parking and a plaza area. The new World of Coca-Cola will be a larger, more interactive version of the current attraction, which has hosted more than 10 million visitors since opening in 1990. The state has already expressed interest in the current Underground location, across the street from the State Capitol, for a possible site for the Georgia history museum.

The Georgia World Congress Center’s Phase IV expansion is a massive project, adding 420,000 square feet of exhibit space, 29 additional meeting rooms (75,000 square feet) and a 25,700 square-foot ballroom. The Phase IV expansion is estimated to generate $1 billion in economic impact and $53 million in new tax revenue. It is expected to attract 400,000 additional out-of-state visitors to the Atlanta area. Upon completion, the Georgia World Congress Center offers a total of 3.9 million square feet of space comprised of 1.4 million square feet of prime exhibit space, 105 meeting rooms, three major entrance concourses, two grand ballrooms (33,000 and 25,700 square feet) and two landscaped plazas. The grand opening of Phase IV will take place in October 2002.

This addition maintains the Georgia World Congress Center’s rank as one of the top five largest convention center’s in the nation. Together with the Georgia Dome and Centennial Olympic Park, the Congress Center remains committed to providing our customers with both fast and friendly service and an exceptional facility.

The Atlantic Station project is a 140-acre environmental redevelopment and reclamation of the former Atlantic Steel Mill in Midtown Atlanta. Once complete, the development is projected to include 12 million square feet of retail, office, residential and hotel space as well as 11 acres of public parks. Atlantic Steel Mill, initially was founded as the Atlantic Steel Co., in 1901 and went through several changes during the century. However, it remained a fixture in the Midtown area until deconstruction began in 1999. The new construction will be divided into three areas: The District, The Commons and Tech Village. The District will include 1 million square feet of open-air retail and entertainment, office space, loft apartments and town homes. Encircling a two-acre lake, The Commons will encompass the majority of the residential properties. The Tech Village will include mass retail locations surrounded by neighborhood retail shops, office space and loft style apartments. The grand opening of this $2 billion undertaking is scheduled for the fall of 2003.

Expect to see a variety of improvements at Hartsfield International Airport in the coming years, with a $5.4 billion Development Program, which will identify, repair and upgrade designated areas within the Airport’s facilities. Work will begin on a fifth runway in May of this year and planes could be landed on this runway by the end of 2005. The fifth runway will aid in accommodating commuter aircrafts and help eliminate congestion on the existing four runways. An additional passenger terminal will be built to allow passengers to access the landside without having to use an automated people mover. It will include access to roadway network, an automobile parking structure, a provision for the southern MARTA extension to the terminal, and other features that will provide a high level of passenger service. Enhanced road and rail access will be added and a consolidated rental car facility will be built to accommodate all rental car companies operating at the Airport. Concourse E is expanding with 900,000 new square feet, including, international passenger ticketing facilities, nine additional gates, two levels of curb front parking and approximately 2,000 public long-term parking spaces adjacent to the terminal. Lastly, an expanded Airport people mover will access MARTA.

Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. (TBS, Inc.) and Omni Hotels, together, will develop a 27-story hotel tower adjacent to Turner’s existing 15-story hotel, adding another 600 guestrooms. The $70 million expansion will establish Omni Hotel at CNN Center as one of the leading convention hotels in the Southeast. The expansion and renovation project will accommodate the continuing influx of visitors to CNN Center as well as Philips Arena, the Georgia World Congress Center (GWCC) and the Georgia Dome, all of which will be within walking distance of the hotel. The new tower is scheduled to open in late 2003.

TBS, Inc.'s Techwood expansion will house additional facilities for future networks and business units of the Turner Entertainment Group. Construction will take place over the next few years, with completion of Building D scheduled for early 2003 and Building C in early 2005.

Discover Mills’ grand opening brought even more music, sports and shopping to Atlanta. With 1.2 million square feet in retail space, Discover Mills offers outstanding retail and outlet shopping, unique specialty stores, entertainment venues and varied dining options.

In addition to your favorite stores, Discover Mills introduces several new retailers to Georgia, including the Off Broadway Shoe Warehouse, Last Call from Neiman Marcus and Sun & Ski Sports, which features a 24-foot natural rock climbing wall, a 15-foot-wide practice ski and snowboarding deck, an ice climbing wall, ski chalet and an incline track.

There are many exciting entertainment venues featured at Discover Mills. The country’s first ESPN X Games Skatepark is for children of all ages. Kids will find public facilities for skateboarding, bike stunt riding and inline skating. Jillian’s, another first for Georgia, provides the latest in simulation games, Hi-Life Lanes bowling, billiards and a giant video wall. Visitors can enjoy a sit-down restaurant or 10 eateries and a variety of delicious treats in the Towne Square Festival Food Court.

A complete shopping and entertainment destination for the eastern region of metro Atlanta, The Mall at Stonecrest is the first regional mall in Atlanta to feature five anchor stores in the first phase of development. With 1.3 million square-feet, two levels and an indoor/outdoor shopping, dining and entertainment complex, Stonecrest specializes in family fun, customer service, fashion, convenience and community accessibility. In addition, The Mall showcases a multi-screen, stadium-seating theatre and two levels of shopping with more than 120 specialty retail shops. Located in East Dekalb County, in the city of Lithonia, just southeast of Atlanta, Stonecrest is one of the only upscale, regional shopping malls in the eastern Georgia region. Cadillac Fairview is also developing the area surrounding The Mall at Stonecrest which will include an additional two million square feet of retailers, restaurants, office space, hotel accommodations and residential development.

Georgia State University in downtown Atlanta has begun a $4.4 million renovation that includes the addition of a 6,000 square foot Career Center on the second floor of the Law Library. In addition, renovations to the Plaza Café and the Campus Club are scheduled to be completed by August so that full dining services will be available to students fall semester.

The Atlanta Beat professional women’s soccer team, whose all-star roster includes Briana Scurry (U.S. women’s team goalie), began their second season April 13, 2002 in their new home, Herndon Stadium. On the campus of Morris Brown College, the stadium seats 15,000, is sure to produce an electric and intimidating atmosphere for all Beat opponents.

The 2002 season marks the first year of play for the Georgia Force in the Arena Football League. The core of players that will make up Georgia’s squad come from the former Nashville Kats as that club relocated to Atlanta and re-established itself as the Force. The Georgia Force began their season in April at Phillips Arena.


The Georgia International Convention Center (GICC) has T-1 access for high speed Internet connectivity that is faster than ISDN and DSL and offers more security than cable. GICC provides complete access in all exhibit halls and meeting room spaces. The Georgia International Convention Center is nearing the completion of its $95 million expansion. In addition to the Convention Center, the Gateway Center Office/Hotel Park development will include five hotels with 400 rooms each and two office buildings each with 80,000 square feet.

The Boisfeuillet Jones Atlanta Civic Center has recently undergone major renovations to improve the civic center that opened 33 year ago and was renamed as a lasting tribute to one of Atlanta’ most beloved philanthropist. Renovations began with the lobby, since this is the first thing the public sees. The ceiling was repainted, the carpet replaced, the walls and columns were treated with a new, brighter color and the balcony fascias were given a metallic treatment. Inside the auditorium, all seats were removed and reconstructed and the floor was sandblasted and repainted, as the hard finished floor helps make the sound from the stage more audible, clearer and cleaner. The next phase of improvements will begin in the second quarter of this year, and will be completed by summer. New bathrooms will be built on the main level in a new extension on the Piedmont side of the lobby and the walls of the auditorium will be painted. When completed, the civic center will be home to the largest stage in the Southeast with 14 dressing rooms, a hydraulic orchestra pit with curved apron, three loading bays and on-site parking for 1,000 vehicles.

A $23 million renovation was completed in CNN Center. The renovation includes a new atrium with retail storefronts, theatrical lighting and enough event space for groups from 100 to 1,000. Glass replaces concrete in the new façade of the center adjacent to the Omni Hotel so visitors have a beautiful view of Centennial Olympic Park.

The CNN Newsroom renovations cost approximately $6.25 million and produced a better lighting system and a complete redesign of sets, graphics, finishes and furnishings. New architectural features put into the 18,000 square feet of space on the fifth floor of the CNN Pavilion include:

A newly-designed anchor set in Studio 5A
Control Room A has a second, smaller anchor set
Approximately 20 workstations added
Additional support spaces

Attraction Updates

Stone Mountain Park is currently experiencing its largest expansion ever, with the opening of two fun-filled family attractions. Now open, the Great Barn is Atlanta’s newest and largest children’s attraction. Children can explore Southern farm life of the 1800s through interactive adventures. Inside the Barn, kids will find a gigantic climbing structure with rope nets, mazes, interactive games and a 40-foot ultimate super slide.

The second attraction, Crossroads is a significant addition to family entertainment in Atlanta. The new attraction recaptures a small Georgia town from the 1870s and brings to life, the story, people and craft-makers of the South. Guests are able to immerse in the Southern culture and heritage, as the townspeople are dressed in period costumes and invite visitors to experience the past. The town features Thompson’s Grist Mill and Bakery, a blacksmith shop, Tweedle’s Candle Shop, glass blowing demonstrations, the Crossroads Mercantile with candy and ice cream production, Miss Katie’s Sideboard Restaurant with Southern cuisine and the Tall Tales 4-D Theatre with 3-D film and special in-house effects and scenery.

The 750-seat Ebenezer Baptist Church, where Martin Luther King, Jr. once preached, is now a living museum, open for tours. The U.S. Park Service assumed a 99-year lease and immediately began weekday tours. The park service keeps the church open for periodic ecumenical services and choir performances. The long-awaited restoration of the church, which is part of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Historic Site, officially began in April 2001 and re-opened to visitors last January.

The CNN Studio Tour now offers a better-than-ever overview of the art, science and technology of news reporting. Tour-goers can now look back at CNN’s history making coverage of news events and get a behind-the-scenes look at state-of-the-art studios where events are reported daily to more than one billion people. New highlights of the tour include:

A control room theater featuring 37 television monitors, connected directly to CNN’s main control room. Visitors can see first-hand what it takes to put a news broadcast together and then send it out live to viewers at home.
An interactive exhibit area that includes two “CNN.com” kiosks where guests can surf all CNN websites; two “100 Memorable Moments” kiosks; and a “Journalism Ethics” kiosk.
Updated newsrooms where visitors can view the multi-million dollar renovations made to CNN and CNN Headline News operations.
A new tour finale, guests are introduced to the entertainment side of Turner Broadcasting System, Inc.

Celebrating 35 seasons, Six Flags Over Georgia has opened an astonishing, next-generation roller coaster this year. Superman – Ultimate Flight is the South’s only flying roller coaster. Passengers tilt face-first into flying position, before climbing the 115-foot hill with a bird’s-eye view below and entering a series of sharp dives, high-banked curves and spirals designed to enhance the flying experience. The signature feature comes as riders sail through the first-ever, 78-foot pretzel shaped inverted loop, climbing to the top of the large looping figure and diving into a curve which brings them amazingly close to the ground, amplifying the sensation of flying. Ending the flight is a 360-degree in-line roll. To celebrate a season filled with thrills, fun and excitement, SixFlags, is stacking up festivities for the whole family to enjoy including nightly celebrations, electrifying LIVE shows and commemorative collectibles.

The Atlanta Opera has moved from The Fox Theatre to the Atlanta Civic Center to continue the growth of the opera company. At The Fox, The Opera was limited to four productions annually and to three or four performances of each production. The Opera needed a place to add performances and productions and increase their presence in the community. Ticket holders will be exposed to and have the opportunity to see and hear more opera. The Civic Center can better control the sale of tickets and better serve ticket buyers with their own customized box office system. There is plenty of parking on site at the Civic Center and in addition to the renovated hall, there are plenty of rooms available for pre and post-opera events.

The Atlanta Symphony Orchestra announced that it was developing a new facility and would break ground on the facility in 2005. The $240 million new home of the symphony will be on 6.2 acres at Peachtree and 14th streets. Plans for the new facility include a live, work, play and learning environment with two 30-plus story mixed-use residential/hotel and restaurant towers, green space and retail space. Symphony officials chose Santiago Calatrava to design the new facility slated to open in 2008.

Groundbreaking is scheduled for 2003 on a $130 million project to turn the Woodruff Arts Center and the HIGH Museum of Art into world-class cultural destinations. The expansion project adds 177,000 square feet to the museum, more than doubling the size of the facility built by Richard Meier. The expansion, which will be completed under Renzo Piano, includes three new buildings, two for art and one for offices. The three-building complex and piazza are projected to open in the spring 2005.

AtlanTIX, the South’s first day-of-show, half-price ticket booth, now includes full-price online ticket sales. The site, www.atlantaperforms.com, now provides consumers with a user-friendly, online box office with tickets to shows and cultural arts events throughout greater Atlanta. The new online service compliments the existing day-of-show, half-price ticket booth walk up service located at Underground Atlanta - sponsored by BellSouth and supported by the Atlanta Convention & Visitors Bureau.

Hotel Additions and Renovations

Ritz-Carlton Lodge, Reynolds Plantation opened its doors to guests this April, offering 81 holes of championship golf, a Native American themed spa, water activities on Lake Oconee and tours and classes emphasizing a strong local heritage. Located 75 miles from Atlanta’s Hartsfield International Airport, the resort is located within the 8,000 wooded acres of Reynolds Plantation, a private residential community found along the shores of Lake Oconee in Greensboro, Georgia. The resort has 251 guest rooms, 23 suites, six private golf cottages and one 5,400-square-foot Presidential House. With more than 16,000 square feet of meeting space, the new property offers two ballrooms, nine meeting rooms, pre-function areas and outdoor meeting facilities.

The Resort at Callaway will open the Southern Pine Conference Center and cottage complex in September. This 54,000 sq. ft. of meeting facility will include 22,000 sq. ft. of meeting space, a new 150-seat restaurant, lounge and gift shop.

The Westin Peachtree Plaza hotel, located in the heart of downtown, unveiled an entirely new look on the completion of a $30 million renovation. The comprehensive project included improvements to all the hotel’s guestrooms, meeting facilities, restaurants and public spaces. A new dining facility, The Café, serves a buffet breakfast with action stations for freshly prepared omelets and other breakfast items. The hotel added 13 meeting rooms, consisting of 20,000 square feet of space, bringing the hotel’s total to more than 75,000 square feet.

Atlanta Marriott Northwest and Atlanta Marriott Perimeter Center are spending $2.5 million each on renovations that will improve each guest’s good night’s sleep – hypoallergenic bedding, a 7-in thick Jamison-quilted mattress and down comforters- and each guest’s stay - “One Touch at Your Service” is a one-call feature that provides instant access to an associate who can handle requests ranging from housekeeping to concierge services.

With renovations of the Presidential Suite, Governor’s Suite and Swiss Executive Club Lounge complete, guests at Swissôtel Atlanta can enjoy their stay in enhanced luxury. The renovation of the Swiss Executive Club Lounge includes an updated food display offering a European continental breakfast, hors d’oeuvres, cocktails, aperitifs, cordials and afternoon tea. The three executive floors offer first class treatment with personal concierge service and turn-down service for guests. In addition, Swissôtel Atlanta is pleased to announce a new $2.7 million renovation of its Grand Ballroom, the largest ballroom in Buckhead, and meeting space starting July 1, 2002. Current meeting facilities will be expanded and new facilities will be added. Upon completion, all meeting rooms will be enhanced with state-of-the-art digital technology.

The downtown Embassy Suites is adding more special events space, where WXIA-TV used to film its morning show. The room is called the Studio and still has the television monitors for decoration. Because the hotel is across the street from the Georgia World Congress Center, general manager Chuck Powell expects to find a ready market from companies in Atlanta for conventions and meetings.

Restaurant News

After nearly two decades as one of Atlanta’s most prominent fine dining restaurants, 103
West has become a private events facility. The Buckhead Life restaurant will end its a la carte
dining business and focus exclusively on events such as wedding receptions, business meetings and parties. The facility will be redesigned to accommodate the change. The restaurant’s interior will be updated, versatile lighting will be added and the tables and chairs will be changed.

Fine Greek dining has arrived in Atlanta. Buckhead Life’s newest edition, Kyma is a contemporary Greek seafood tavern unlike any other. Kyma offers authentic Greek food and wines, uniquely presented that are flavorful and surprisingly healthy. Design elements are both dramatic and subtle, featuring solid marble columns, a ceiling lit by twinkling stars, a broken plate wall mosaic and a fountain cascading over a marble display of iced fresh fish.

Dante’s Down the Hatch has reopened and is serving specialty fondue dinners and the ultimate, chocolate fondue for dessert. The Paul Mitchell Jazz Trio and the John Robertson Trio play live Jazz aboard the ship every evening except Monday.

Jake’s Ice Cream & Sorbets, located in historic Inman Park offers both Atlantans and visitors their famous flavors in a cozy atmosphere with high ceilings, exposed brick and a view of the PATH trail or the spectacular Atlanta skyline. Try chocolate slap yo mama, brown sugar vanilla, cinnamon apple pie or honey fig. In addition to amazing ice cream, Jake’s added fresh sandwiches, salads and soups to the menu and most recently a weekend brunch.

2 New Penguin Chicks Join The Tennessee Aquarium's Penguin Colony

Finding Faces For Margraten

National Poll Ranks Tennessee Aquarium 1 Of America’s Best Aquariums

At a time when uplifting news can seem like an all-too-precious commodity, the Tennessee Aquarium is doubly pleased to announce the recent hatching of a pair of Gentoo Penguin chicks in the Penguins’ ... (click for more)

Established in 1945, with over 10,000 graves, Margraten's "American Cemetery" is far from normal. Buried here are men and women who came from all of America, to drive fascism away and restore ... (click for more)

Thanks to an outpouring of support from all over the nation, the Tennessee Aquarium secured a top spot in USA Today’s 10 Best Reader’s Choice awards to determine the nation’s premiere aquariums. ... (click for more)


2 New Penguin Chicks Join The Tennessee Aquarium's Penguin Colony

At a time when uplifting news can seem like an all-too-precious commodity, the Tennessee Aquarium is doubly pleased to announce the recent hatching of a pair of Gentoo Penguin chicks in the Penguins’ Rock gallery. The eggs were laid in late April, and the chicks began to pip on June 6, fully emerging from their shells on June 7 and June 8. Since then, the babies have been ... (click for more)

Finding Faces For Margraten

Established in 1945, with over 10,000 graves, Margraten's "American Cemetery" is far from normal. Buried here are men and women who came from all of America, to drive fascism away and restore freedom to the Netherlands. When you visit, you will first be taken by it's mass, then by the pristine condition of each blade of grass. The gleaming marble: painstakingly washed and ... (click for more)

Breaking News

Supt. Johnson Says County Schools To Start Aug. 12 In Groups, But Hope To Be Fully Open By Aug. 30

Hamilton County Schools Supt. Dr. Bryan Johnson on Monday said the schools plan to open Aug. 12 with two groups of students at each school each attending two days a week. However, he said it is hoped that students will be able to go five days a week by Aug. 30. The opening format includes Group A going on Wednesday, Aug. 12, and Group B on Thursday, Aug. 13. Friday will be ... (click for more)

Hamilton County Has Just 52 New Coronavirus Cases, But ICU Cases Continue To Go Up; Tennessee Has 25 More Deaths

Hamilton County had just 52 new coronavirus cases on Monday and deaths remained at 48. However, the number of COVID patients in Intensive Care continued to go up and is now at 37. Total cases now are 5,669 after the numbers have dropped in recent days. There are 86 COVID patients hospitalized as well as four more suspected cases. The number of active cases in Hamilton ... (click for more)


Leave C.E. James Monument And Park Alone - And Response (4)

The recent controversy over the monument to our town's founder, C.E. James, is more than a completely unnecessary and avoidable waste of time and possibly money - it is contrived and downright silly. Race-based restrictions on residential real estate sales weren't just common a century ago, they were universal in both the North and South. Such "red-lining" didn't start to die out ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: We’re Out Of ‘Touch’

I’ve been a “people person” for all of my life and not until this past weekend did I become aware I have been suffering badly due to “lack of touch.” A lifelong friend passed along a Daily Devotional where a gifted pastor in Massachusetts mourned the fact that – get this – she had been touched by another human being only four times in the last four months. As I paused to dwell on ... (click for more)