New for Atlanta in 2015!
We’re thrilled to welcome Amy Patterson, Vice President, Business Development and Corporate Events with the Atlanta Convention and Visitors Bureau as this month’s guest blogger for Destination South‘s, Mouth of the Destination South. Amy has her finger on the pulse of what’s new and exciting for Atlanta and the hospitality industry. Enjoy Amy’s insights into Atlanta, the city we love to call home!
First let me say, Atlanta has incredible momentum going into 2015! In 2014 Atlanta saw more than $1.5 billion spent on new hospitality development. By the end of the year, the city had hosted a record number of major city-wide conventions and events. Hotel occupancy in City of Atlanta reached milestone levels of over 70 percent – a first in the city’s history. Occupancy in the metro area also grew 8 percent, earning Atlanta the No. 1 spot among the top 25 destinations in the U.S. It’s going to be another exciting year in Atlanta. These are just a few of the city’s new developments that visitors can enjoy:
1) The Atlanta Streetcar
The new Atlanta Streetcar ushers in a new era for transit – one that will begin to transform how Atlantans move around our community. The streetcar opened for service at the end of 2014 and will be FREE for riders through March. The streetcar puts visitors just a short ride away from more than 300 restaurants, top attractions and downtown hotels. Project developers intend to expand service with additional phases of development in the coming years. The plan is that the Atlanta Streetcar will become part of a whole new system of local and regional transportation.
2) The Center for Civil and Human Rights
The Center for Civil and Human Rights located in downtown Atlanta, boldly and uniquely bridges the history of the Civil Rights Movement to contemporary human rights issues, thus sparking ongoing dialogue around the possibilities for the future. Three interactive galleries engage visitors through a combination of powerful imagery, compelling artifacts, and poignant storytelling. The Center is just steps away from Georgia Aquarium and World of Coca-Cola, completing a trifecta of world-class attractions at Pemberton Place.
3) The College Football Hall of Fame and Chick-Fil-A Fan Experience
Atlanta’s new College Football Hall of Fame and Chick-fil-A Fan Experience is also just steps away from the attractions that encircle Centennial Olympic Park. The Hall features historic and contemporary artifacts, interactive multimedia displays, children’s activities, and an ultra-high-definition 4K theatre. State-of-the-art RFID technology allows each visitor to have a personalized experience at the Hall, providing an “All-Access Pass” to their favorite college team or Hall of Famer.
4) The Delta Flight Museum
The Delta Flight Museum is located in original 1940s-era aircraft hangars that Delta has located in Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. These hangars became the Delta Air Transport Heritage Museum and restoration facility for Delta’s first 21‐passenger Douglas DC‐3 in 1995. The new Delta Flight Museum features interactive exhibits about the past, present and future of Delta Air Lines and air travel. It also includes rare aviation items and aircrafts, including the Waco 125, the only remaining aircraft of its kind, and the only full-motion flight simulator open to the public – the same one used to train Delta pilots. Visitors can also stand beneath the wings of The Spirit of Delta, Delta’s first Boeing 767, gifted to Delta Airlines in 1982 from donations raised by employees, retirees and friends of the airline.
5) Buckhead Atlanta
Buckhead Atlanta is a new luxury live, work, play district in the heart of the neighborhood that’s often referred to as “Beverly Hills of the East.” Visitors will find high-end brands like Christian Louboutin, Jimmy Choo and Hermès alongside first-to-market restaurants like Shake Shack and Gypsy Kitchen. The project completed in September 2014, but restaurants and retail will continue to open throughout this year.
6) The Krog Street Market
The greatly anticipated Krog Street Market (KSM) is now open in Inman Park alongside the Atlanta BeltLine Eastside Trail. KSM is the first of its kind in Atlanta, loosely based on San Francisco’s Ferry Building Market Place. Home to over 16 food and retail stalls, five anchor restaurants, and two standalone retail buildings. Krog Street Market preserves the rich history of Inman Park.
7) The Atlanta Beltline Eastside Trail Gateway
The connection between the Eastside Trail and Historic Fourth Ward Park, known as the Eastside Trail Gateway, is now complete! Visitors can easily access 12 acres of green space at the Historic Fourth Ward Park. The Atlanta BeltLine is considered one of the nation’s largest sustainable redevelopment projects that will provide a network of public parks, multi-use trails and transit along a historic 22-mile railroad corridor that connects 45 intown neighborhoods.
8) Aloft Atlanta Downtown
Aloft Atlanta Downtown is the newest hotel brand to open in Atlanta – centrally located within walking distance of our attractions that encircle Centennial Olympic Park, downtown restaurants, and venues like The Tabernacle. Guests can stay in style and enjoy signature platform beds, oversized showers with spa amenities, the Re:mix lounge, and cocktails at the WXYZ bar.
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The new year of 2015 is sure to bring more development to Atlanta’s hospitality industry, including further retail and restaurant openings at Ponce City Market. This urban market, modeled after New York City’s Chelsea Market, will house a food hall, shops and rooftop amusements such as mini golf and bocce ball. Expansion to Atlanta’s cultural attractions includes a 21,250-square-foot addition to the Center for Puppetry Arts, Zoo Atlanta’s Scaly Slimy Spectacular at Zoo Atlanta, new roller-coasters at Six Flags over Georgia and a new plant-to-plate restaurant at the Atlanta Botanical Garden.
The Future Looks Bright.
We could easily see another $2.5 billion in new hospitality development open over the next five years. Rising hotel occupancy levels in Atlanta have attracted hotel development, which leads to lots of new construction popping up around the city. By 2017, we’ll open two brand new stadiums for the Atlanta Falcons and Atlanta Braves, along with a new Major League Soccer team. In 2017 Atlanta will welcome a Major League Soccer team. And, there is potential for a new convention center hotel by 2019. The future of Atlanta looks bright!