The Georgia World Congress Center Authority (GWCCA) was established in 1971 to oversee development of an international trade and exhibition center in Atlanta that today is known as the Georgia World Congress Center. Along with the convention center, GWCCA’s ever-evolving campus spans 220-plus acres and includes Centennial Olympic Park, the lasting legacy of the 1996 Summer Olympic Games, Mercedes-Benz Stadium, home of the Atlanta Falcons and Atlanta United and, opening in 2022, GWCCA’s headquarter hotel Signia by Hilton.
The Authority, a self-sustained state agency, is entrusted as stewards of these state-owned assets, and has invested more than $360 million over the last decade to improve connectivity between its facilities and downtown Atlanta’s surrounding hospitality district.
A key driver for Georgia’s economy, the GWCCA is a catalyst for development, tourism, commercial and residential growth, and a major job creator and sustainer.
The State of Georgia established the Georgia World Congress Center Authority to develop and operate the Georgia World Congress Center, Centennial Olympic Park and related facilities.These facilities exist for the primary purpose of promoting and facilitating events and activities that generate economic benefits to the citizens of the State of Georgia and the City of Atlanta as well as enhance the quality of life for every Georgian.
To be globally recognized as the No. 1 convention, sports, and entertainment destination in the world.
Our Core Four shape every part of our culture - and along with our vision - provide the foundation that guides every action and decision.
We achieve together. We focus on the big picture and think in terms of what will benefit the entire organization, not in terms of what’s good for each functional area.
We hold ourselves and each other accountable to high ethical standards. As state employees entrusted with public money and assets, we earn our reputation daily as trustworthy and transparent.
We are focused on safety and committed to serving our customers, community, environment, and each other. We demonstrate an unwavering commitment to quality and efficiency.
We seize the ever-changing, intense and exhilarating environment we work in. We recognize that our leadership position is a privilege and it requires us to continuously innovate and evaluate everything we do.
1971: The Georgia General Assembly passes legislation establishing the Georgia World Congress Center Board, later renamed the Georgia World Congress Center Authority (GWCCA), to develop the facility.
1974: A groundbreaking ceremony celebrates initial construction of the Georgia World Congress Center (GWCC).
Open for Business
1976: GWCC officially opens its first exhibition hall on Sept. 8 to host the Bobbin Show/American Apparel Manufacturers Association Convention.
1985: GWCC celebrates the completion of the Phase II Expansion Project which adds 1.1 million square feet.
Georgia Dome is Born
1989: Construction begins on a new home for the Atlanta Falcons. The 71,250-seat Georgia Dome will sit next to GWCC and host year-round events.
Atlanta Awarded the Olympics
1990: Beating out other notable cities such as Athens, Greece and Toronto, Canada, the International Olympic Committee selects Atlanta to host the 1996 Summer Olympics.
Growing Atlanta Reach
1992: GWCC Phase III Expansion Project is completed increasing exhibit space to 950,000 square feet in eight exhibit halls. The Georgia Dome hosts its first Atlanta Falcons game.
Centennial Olympic Park is Born
1995: In preparation for the 1996 Centennial Olympic Games, construction begins on the 21-acre Centennial Olympic Park (COP).
1996 Centennial Olympic Games
1996: Atlanta hosts the Centennial Olympic Games. The International Broadcast Center and sporting events take place on the GWCCA campus as the Park serves as the world’s gathering place.
2002: Completion of the 1.1 million square foot Phase IV Expansion Project makes GWCC one of the largest convention centers in the United States.
2008: An EF2 tornado rips through downtown Atlanta hitting all three buildings of GWCC, the Georgia Dome, and Centennial Olympic Park causing more than $75 million in damages, yet most areas reopen within 42 days.
A Job Well Done
2009: After 33 years at the helm of GWCCA, Executive Director Dan Graveline retires. During his tenure, the three venues generate more than $40 billion in economic impact for Georgia and the city of Atlanta.
2010: Thirty-eight year convention center/public assembly veteran Frank Poe is appointed as the new Executive Director of the GWCCA.
2012: The GWCCA Board of Governors votes unanimously on an agreement to secure a contract with the Atlanta Falcons to build a new stadium on the GWCCA campus.
Discovery Center Opens
2013: The Junior Achievement Chick-fil-A Foundation Discovery Center opens in Building C of the GWCC welcoming 30,000-plus middle school students to interactive marketplaces, placing education as a literal cornerstone in GWCCA’s social responsibility efforts.
2014: The industry’s first-ever private-to-public management agreement is signed allowing GWCCA to manage the Savannah Convention Center. The Chick-fil-A College Football Hall of Fame opens on the GWCCA campus.
Centennial Olympic Park Revival
2017: Renovations of COP begin with the demolition of the former Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce Building.
A New Era Begins
2017: Mercedes-Benz Stadium opens with the Atlanta Falcons hosting the Arizona Cardinals in preseason action at their new $1.6 billion home on the GWCCA campus.
Farewell to the Georgia Dome
2017: After 25 years elevating Atlanta as a host city for major events on the Authority’s campus, the Georgia Dome is imploded on Nov. 21.
Reaching Greater Heights
2018: Construction begins on the new BC Hall, which will create more than 1 million square feet of contiguous exhibition space, and make GWCC one of only five convention centers in the U.S. with this much space.
The Jewel of Atlanta
2019: Updates to COP are complete creating additional greenspace, new features, stronger ties to its Olympic heritage, and welcoming new entry points for guests.