Georgia World Congress Center History


The Georgia World Congress Center opened in 1976 with a total of 750,000 square feet, 350,000 of which was exhibit space. Today, the facility encompasses 2.5 million square feet, making the GWCC one of the top five largest convention centers in the nation in terms of prime exhibit space.

1970
An ad hoc committee formed to study the feasibility of developing an international trade and exhibition center in Atlanta.

1971
The Georgia General Assembly passed legislation establishing the Georgia World Congress Center Board, later reconstructed as the Georgia World Congress Center Authority, to develop the facility.

1973
The Georgia General Assembly authorized $35 million worth of general obligation bonds to fund the construction of the Georgia World Congress Center.

1974
On Oct. 30, groundbreaking ceremonies celebrated initial construction of the facility.

1976
The Georgia World Congress Center officially opened its first exhibition hall Sept. 8 as host to the Bobbin Show/American Apparel Manufacturers Association.

1977
The construction of Phase I was completed in mid-January with a total 750,000 square feet, 350,000 of which was exhibit space.

1979
The Georgia General Assembly authorized funding for a Georgia World Congress Center expansion feasibility study and market analysis.

1980
Based upon the feasibility study and market analysis, the Georgia General Assembly authorized $10 million worth of general obligation bond funding to acquire land for expansion and retain architects to finalize expansion design.

1981
The Georgia General Assembly authorized $83 million worth of general obligation bond funding to construct the Phase II expansion. Ground-breaking ceremonies were held Sept. 17.

1984
The GWCC Authority staff occupied the newly constructed Phase II portion of the expanded Georgia World Congress Center in November.

1985
The Georgia World Congress Center officially celebrated the completion of the Phase II expansion project April 26, which added 1.1 million square feet.

1986
The Georgia General Assembly authorized $12 million for construction of a 1,000-vehicle parking deck.

Gov. Joe Frank Harris authorized expenditure of $50,000 for an updated market analysis and feasibility study to consider further expansion of the Georgia World Congress Center.

1987
The Georgia General Assembly authorized funding for the Phase III Georgia World Congress Center expansion feasibility study and market analysis.

1988
Based on the feasibility study and market analysis, the Georgia General Assembly approved $5 million worth of general obligation bonds for land acquisition and design development for about 300,000 square feet of additional exhibition space.

Legislative approval was granted for $13 million worth of general obligation bond funding for land acquisition for a 4,000-vehicle surface parking and truck marshalling facility.

1989
The Georgia General Assembly approved $5 million for Phase III expansion site preparation.

1992
Phase III expansion is completed, which increased the facility's exhibit space to 950,000 square feet in eight exhibit halls.

1993
In December, the Georgia World Congress Center Authority awarded Thompson, Ventulett, Stainback & Associates the Georgia International Plaza project - a 6-acre pedestrian plaza and 1,000-space parking deck.

1994
In March, the Georgia General Assembly approved $28 million to fund the Georgia International Plaza's construction at the Georgia World Congress Center.

1996
In July, Georgia International Plaza, a 6-acre plaza atop a 2,000-space parking deck is completed in time for the Centennial Olympic Games.

July 19 through Aug. 4, the Georgia World Congress Center hosted seven Olympic-sporting events and is home to the International Broadcast Center during the Centennial Olympic Games.

1998
The Georgia General Assembly approved $10.5 million for the planning and design phase of the fourth expansion of the Georgia World Congress Center. The expansion will add an additional 420,000 square feet of exhibit space plus an extra 75,000 square feet of meeting rooms, a second ballroom (27,000 square feet), a 3.6-acre landscaped plaza and a new entrance.

The Georgia World Congress Center Authority announced March 31 the selection of Heery/Thompson Ventulett Stainback to design the Phase IV expansion of the Georgia World Congress Center.

1999
In March, the 1999 Georgia General Assembly approved $220 million to fund construction of the Phase IV expansion of the Georgia World Congress Center.

The Georgia World Congress Center Authority announced July 27 the selection of Hardin Russell Mitchell as construction managers for the Phase IV expansion. Hardin and Russell, along with Mitchell Construction, represent a project team that has completed more than $1 billion worth of convention center projects nationwide.

2000
The Georgia World Congress Center Authority selected Williams-Russell & Johnson, Inc., to design surface parking lots and a proposed parking deck adjacent to Northside Drive. The additional automobile, bus and truck parking space will support both the Georgia Dome and the GWCCA's existing Congress Center facility, plus its Phase IV expansion.