One of the newest major investments in one of Atlanta’s oldest districts has now experienced all four seasons. A multitude of basketball games. And as of this past weekend, a commencement week that saw 4,600 Georgia State University Panthers turn the tassel before venturing out into the real world.

At this point, the GSU Convocation Center is sufficiently broken in. Which begs the question: What do Atlantans think of Summerhill’s indoor arena so far?

The first large-scale event at the new 200,000-square-foot facility, situated at the formerly vacant corner of Capitol Avenue and Fulton Streets, was held in mid-September. As a versatile events center, it helps bridge the gap of human activity between the college’s expanding downtown campus and what’s happening in Summerhill near GSU’s Center Parc Stadium.

John Stinson/courtesy of Perkins + Will

Designed by Perkins + Will, in partnership with architecture firm SLAM, the Convocation Center doubles the capacity of GSU’s former, 50-year-old sports arena. It’s home to the college’s men’s and women’s basketball teams and serves as a main gathering place for large-scale academic and community events in the historic neighborhood, according to Perkins + Will reps.

Those events have included, or will include, graduation ceremonies of up to 7,500 people, esports tourneys, large conferences, and 8,000-seat concerts, project officials have said.

Amenities described by designers as “world-class” include suites and a club room for attendees, and nursing and sports medicine rooms for student athletes.

James Steinkamp/courtesy of Perkins + Will

The $85-million Convocation Center project broke ground on 6 vacant acres in November 2020.

It marked another significant land-use change in the northern reaches of Summerhill, claiming what used to be a shabby Georgia Department of Driver Services facility a couple of blocks north of the former Turner Field. Nearby, hundreds of new residential units and a full street’s worth of businesses have delivered since the Braves uprooted to Cobb County. 

To help spotlight the building as its first academic year wraps, Perkins + Will has supplied Urbanize Atlanta with photography of the project—from virtual every angle—as found in the above gallery. It could shed light, even for those who’ve repeatedly visited, on what's expected to become a cornerstone facility for Summerhill.


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