Sunday, September 5, 2010

College Football Hall of Fame Relocation to Atlanta Making Great Strides

(BUSINESS WIRE)--The project to relocate the College Football Hall of Fame to Atlanta is making significant progress towards realizing the goal of creating a new immersive and interactive attraction that will celebrate the college football game day experience in a way never before seen.

“This new home of college football will be a true celebration of the sport, evoking all the emotions of the game day experience.”

Atlanta Hall Management, Inc. – the newly formed non-profit created to oversee the construction and management of the new facility – today made a number of announcements related to its continuing progress.

“We’ve achieved an incredible amount in planning what will be a highly entertaining, engaging and memorable attraction,” said Gary Stokan, Atlanta Hall Management and Chick-fil-A Bowl president and CEO. “This new home of college football will be a true celebration of the sport, evoking all the emotions of the game day experience.”

First among those was the selection of two finalist sites still under consideration for the new facility. Both sites are located in downtown Atlanta in close proximity to Centennial Olympic Park and the city’s core of museums and attractions, including the Georgia Aquarium and the World of Coca-Cola.

The first finalist site, owned by InterPark, encompasses 34,000 square feet and is located at the corner of Harris St. and Centennial Olympic Park Drive. The site is currently being used as a parking lot.

The second finalist site, owned by the Georgia World Congress Center Authority, is a 2.7-acre parking lot adjacent to Hall A of the Georgia World Congress Center convention complex, one-half block south of Centennial Olympic Park.

“We literally looked at dozens of possible sites to narrow it down to these two,” Stokan said. “Each site has its unique benefits and both will offer exciting opportunities for the grand opening of the new College Football Hall of Fame in March 2013.”

Atlanta Hall Management (AHM) is continuing to vet the two sites and is expected to make a final selection later this year with construction of the 50,000 square-foot, $50 million facility expected to be completed in March 2013.

AHM’s final agreement with the National Football Foundation, which was signed in July, provides an official license and empowers AHM to oversee all aspects of the project and provides rights to use the name “College Football Hall of Fame.”

“We couldn’t be more pleased with the amount of progress our partners in Atlanta have achieved,” said Steve Hatchell, National Football Foundation president and CEO. “Together, we have assembled a team of experts in every discipline necessary to deliver on the vision we all share for the new College Football Hall of Fame.”

Fundraising efforts continue to progress ahead of expectations. AHM announced that $31.5 million of the estimated $50 million has already been committed to the project.

Current financial commitments include $10 million in general obligation bonds from the State of Georgia, $5 million from the Chick-fil-A Bowl, $5 million from Chick-fil-A, Inc., $2.5 million from Coca-Cola, $1 million from the City of Atlanta’s ADA Economic Development Fund and up to $8 million in cash netting from $25 million in new market tax credits through the Atlanta Development Authority.

“With the funding currently in place, our goal to open the new College Football Hall of Fame is off to an incredibly positive start. We haven’t even gone into the marketplace with our sponsorship packages yet,” Stokan said. “The reality is that this will be a very attractive and dynamic asset for companies looking for a solid return on their investment.”

In addition to its cash commitment, Atlanta-based Coca-Cola has also committed several million dollars in marketing assets including Web, digital media and cross-promotional activities.

Chick-fil-A was the first company to commit as a corporate partner in the project, adding the Hall to its current college football sponsorships anchored by the Chick-fil-A Bowl and the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game. “We identified the College Football Hall of Fame early as a ‘can’t-miss’ opportunity,” said Steve Robinson, chief marketing officer for Chick-fil-A. “It fits perfectly into our portfolio of college sports properties because college fans have the high level of passion and loyalty we’re looking for.”

With the construction phase of the project expected to begin in August 2011, AHM disclosed its development team consisting of architects, real estate developer/program managers and exhibit designers.

TVS Design of Atlanta will serve as lead architects as a part of a joint venture with Turner Associates of Atlanta. Cousins Properties and Gude Management, another Atlanta-based joint venture, will perform the roles of developer and program manager. Gallagher and Associates of Washington D.C. will design the exhibit experience and work closely with TVS Design and Turner Associates to achieve an integrated look and feel with the building architecture.

During the approximate two-year construction process, the College Football Hall of Fame project will generate an estimated $91 million in economic impact for Georgia, while creating an estimated 884 jobs in metro Atlanta and will generate an estimated $4.9 million in state taxes for Georgia. The construction phase is also expected to generate $1.8 million in city tax revenue for Atlanta a study commissioned by Central Atlanta Progress stated.

“This will be a huge financial windfall for Atlanta and Georgia at a time when no one else is creating jobs,” Stokan said. “It will also provide a new tax revenue stream at a time when state sales tax revenues have declined.”

The College Football Hall of Fame relocation project was originally spearheaded by the Chick-fil-A Bowl, in partnership with the National Football Foundation. Representatives from the two organizations first announced plans to relocate the Hall to Atlanta from its current home in South Bend, Ind. last September.

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