Georgia World Congress Center Authority (GWCCA) has landed on a hotel brand, announcing Hilton Hotels & Resorts has been selected as its headquarters hotel operator.
"We are thrilled to welcome another Hilton property to Atlanta's extensive hotel portfolio," said Mark Vaughan, executive vice president and chief sales officer, Atlanta Convention & Visitors Bureau. "The new property adds to Downtown's growing convention and entertainment district, creating more options for guests visiting the destination for events and meetings."
In September, the GWCCA narrowed its search to Hilton and Hyatt Hotels Corporation, eliminating Marriott International and InterContinental Hotels Group, who were shortlisted from an original list of six contenders.
“We are humbled by the overwhelming interest in the headquarters hotel project. While the final two competing brands were both fantastic, our Board felt strongly that Hilton stood out, bringing to the table a partnership that will result in a one-of-a-kind guest experience,” said Frank Poe, executive director of GWCCA. “Our attention is now focused on finalizing the qualified management agreement, a room block agreement, and entering the design development phase to include brand influences.”
The planned hotel, which will sit on part of the former Georgia Dome site, will be owned by the GWCCA and be physically connected to Building C of the Georgia World Congress Center. Groundbreaking on the project is expected in 2019.
Atlanta continues to shine as a welcoming city for everyone as several attractions, sports teams and theatre performances offer sensory-friendly tools and programming for guests with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Sensory bags, altered performances and awareness training are among the steps taken to provide a comfortable experience for all visitors.
As the first Sensory Inclusive-certified attraction in Atlanta, Chick-fil-A College Football Hall of Fame partnered with KultureCity to teach its employees best practices when interacting with guests with ASD and provide kits to fulfill the needs of those visitors. The kits, which are free to utilize while at the attraction, include verbal cue cards, noise-canceling headphones and fidget tools. Weighted lap pads and designated quiet zones add to the amenities.
“From day one, we built the Hall of Fame to be a place where all college football fans can experience the legends, traditions and pageantry of the game in a welcoming environment,” states Dennis Adamovich, CEO of the Chick-fil-A College Football Hall of Fame. “Our attraction is interactive and engaging, and we want every person that comes through our doors to enjoy it in a comforting environment that allows them to have the best experience possible.”
Zoo Atlanta and Atlanta Hawks join the Hall with their own certified offerings to ease experiences while allowing visitors to enjoy their time with family and friends. State Farm Arena’s transformation makes the Hawks the first Southeast Division team to play in a sensory-friendly venue, and renovations to the arena added quiet zones, a sensory room and preferred entrances to accommodate all guests.
In addition to certified attractions, Children’s Museum of Atlanta, Center for Puppetry Arts and Legoland Discovery Center Atlanta introduced sensory-friendly programming on Saturdays and Sundays throughout the year. Modified sound and light settings, special craft projects and required admission for crowd control allow these attractions to create their own welcoming environments. Detailed social stories and visitors' guides provide an in-depth preview of what children and families can expect when visiting the attractions.
For families interested in taking in theatre, Shakespeare Tavern Playhouse debuts their sensory-friendly performance of A Christmas Carol this season. Actors introduce themselves and provide an example of costume changes and instrument use to prepare audience members. Extreme lighting and sound changes are eliminated for this performance.
Atlanta United FC advanced to the 2018 Major League Soccer Cup after beating New York Red Bulls 3-1 on aggregate in the Eastern Conference Championship. New York edged Atlanta 1-0 in Leg Two, but the three-goal deficit proved to be insurmountable for the Red Bulls. As the club with the most points from the regular season remaining in the playoffs, Atlanta will host Portland Timbers in the Cup Final which will be played at Mercedes-Benz Stadium Saturday, Dec. 8 at 7:30 p.m.