Atlanta Hall Management and the Georgia World Congress Center are pleased to announce that all contingencies have been removed from the GWCC’s ground lease with AHM, paving the way for a 2014 grand opening for the new College Football Hall of Fame.
The $65.6 million project will top out at 94,256 square feet and will feature 30,000 square feet of exhibit space, as well as a full-size football field that will serve as an event space. The targeted opening date is the opening weekend of the 2014 college football season.
“This is an exciting day that moves us one step closer to opening the doors on what will be one of the top college football destinations in the country,” said Frank Poe, chairman of the Georgia World Congress Center.
Atlanta Hall Management has been engaged in a capital campaign to raise private funds to help finance the cost of construction of the facility. As of Thursday, it had met the requirement to enter into a long-term lease with the GWCC, enabling a credit facility from Regions Bank to provide needed funds to begin construction of the project.
The Hall, which announced plans to locate in Atlanta in 2008, has raised more than XXXXX in private funds. John Stephenson, the CEO of Atlanta Hall Management, said that fundraising will continue throughout the construction of the project with a goal of opening the Hall debt-free.
“We have crafted and, over the past three years, been implementing a forward-thinking, long-term business plan that is sustainable,” Stephenson said. “Atlanta has established itself as not only the capital of the college football world, but also as one of the premier tourism destinations in the country. Today’s announcement gets us closer to opening yet another world-class attraction in downtown Atlanta.”
The site of the new Hall of Fame is the Georgia World Congress Center green parking lot off of Marietta Street in downtown Atlanta, which is adjacent to the Georgia Dome, Centennial Olympic Park, the World of Coca-Cola, the Georgia Aquarium, CNN Center and the new Center for Civil and Human Rights, which will break ground this month. The National Football Foundation has granted a 30-year license to Atlanta Hall Management to build and operate the Hall.
The Hall will have a significant economic impact on downtown Atlanta, attracting a projected 500,000 visitors annually and generating more than $12.7 million in economic output for Georgia. During its construction, it will have a total economic impact of $67.3 million for the state. Once open, the facility will be completely funded by a mixture of revenues from ticket sales, retail and events, in addition to sponsorships.
“Being patient with this process has paid off, and there is no better place to show off the rich heritage of college football, and the promise of the future of the sport, than the vibrant city of Atlanta,” said Stephen Hatchell, CEO of the National Football Foundation. “We’ve always known that we’ve had something special here, and this is an exciting day that brings us closer to making this dream a reality.”
An official groundbreaking will be announced later this fall.