The fever for more development and large, reinvigorated buildings is spreading to downtown Atlanta’s westernmost blocks.
With Atlanta’s World Cup matches on the 2026 horizon, the city’s convention industry heating back up, and hugely ambitious downtown projects like Centennial Yards showing clear signs of finally happening, the Georgia World Congress Center Authority made a move last week toward inviting further redevelopment of 22 acres the state agency oversees.
The GWCCA on Wednesday issued a request for qualifications for a development team to update its campus master plan—a document last revised in 2008, when the Georgia Dome’s days first appeared numbered—and to transform some underused parcels into developments that would generate revenue. As Bisnow Atlanta reports, the GWCCA intends to pick a winning bidder by September, though a budget for the master-plan overhaul hasn’t been specified.
Another aspect of GWCCA updates, according to the RFQ, would include modernizing one of three convention buildings so that it better links with downtown areas from Castleberry Hill to Centennial Yards and even the Peachtree Street corridor, the website reports.
Other changes would include an expanded meeting space that becomes a dedicated conference center, and improvements to internal connections around the sprawling conference complex—which, at 3.9 million square feet, qualifies as the nation’s fourth largest. Stretching from Centennial Olympic Park to the edge of Vine City, the campus footprint also includes Mercedes-Benz Stadium and the College Football Hall of Fame.
In the call for developers, GWCCA cites “recent changes in the development environment” around its campus as one reason a planning revamp is necessary, per the RFQ.
The GWCCA property has hardly been stagnant in recent years, following the 2017 debut of the Benz and, later, the Home Deport Backyard events and tailgating zone in the Georgia Dome’s old footprint.
A pedestrian mall that took former vehicle lanes and an $18-million transportation hub for bus, taxi, and ride-share options opened near State Farm Arena last year.
Meanwhile, the GWCCA is finishing construction on Atlanta’s tallest new hotel in nearly four decades—the 976-room Signia by Hilton—that’s scheduled to open in January.
The GWCCA hasn’t specified exactly where further development might sprout—and what it would look like, of course—in downtown’s westernmost blocks. Which begs the question of armchair urbanists: In a perfect world, how would growth around these 22 acres come together, provided that current trends continue and downtown’s cachet continues to rise?
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