GMA Hosts Ribbon Cutting for Expanded Headquarters

August 10, 2021

GMA celebrated its newly renovated and expanded Downtown Atlanta headquarters with a ribbon-cutting ceremony on June 23.

New GMA Building
Within these walls, GMA staff will continue to work hard on the behalf of cities to provide the services, training and advocacy to make Georgia’s cities healthy, economically vibrant and run with efficiency and effectiveness,” said GMA President and Union City Mayor Vince Williams. “This campus, where we stand today and celebrate, will provide GMA’s leadership and staff the tools and flexibility to meet the current and future needs of Georgia’s cities.” The upgraded headquarters has an entirely new 29,000-square-foot building with a five-level, 146-space parking deck on the site of a former parking lot. The new building is connected to the fully renovated Burgess Building, GMA’s home since 1984, via a new break room. Office space has been more than doubled, going from 24,000 to 51,000 square feet.

GMA HQ Ribbon Cutting
Several leaders from across the state attended GMA’s ribbon cutting ceremony, including Commissioner Christopher Nunn, Georgia Department of Community Affairs; Atlanta City Council President Felicia Moore; Rob Gordon, Director, Carl Vinson Institute of Government, University of Georgia; A.J. Robinson, President, Central Atlanta Progress; Kevin Perry, CEO and Executive Director, Georgia Beverage Association; Mara Shaw, Associate Director, Carl Vinson Institute of Government, University of Georgia; Atlanta Councilmembers Cleta Winslow and Dustin Hillis; Atlanta Chief Operating Officer Jon Keen; and Pam Sessions, President, Georgia Cities Foundation.

As GMA’s staff has grown to exceed 100, the need for additional office and parking space became evident. Efforts to expand GMA’s footprint began during the 2014 term of former GMA President and Newnan Mayor Keith Brady, and the project broke ground in January 2020.

GMA’s upgraded headquarters includes:

  • A large conference room (capacity 140)
  • A recording studio for audio and video needs
  • Fourth-floor terrace with views of the Georgia Capitol
  • Custom mural by Atlanta graffiti artist Mr. Totem
  • Outdoor courtyard connecting the new building and the Burgess Building
  • Adjustable standing desks for all employees

GMA employees on all levels of the organization shaped the expansion project. Their feedback led to 75% of workspaces being personal offices instead of open-concept cubicles, the furniture that was chosen for common spaces and the inclusion of a fitness room.

GMA Mural

The increased space allows GMA to do more under its own roof; a new conference room capable of holding up to 140 people made it possible for the Board of Directors to meet at GMA headquarters for the first time on June 23. Previous space limits forced board meetings offsite. GMA also held its first in-person staff meeting at headquarters on June 21; all staff had not been able to gather in one space before the expansion.

GMA Courtyard mural
GMA’s headquarters expansion comes as additional development is underway in the south downtown neighborhood. Projects at nearby sites including Underground Atlanta and the Gulch promise new residential, retail and office space in the near future.

“While we are excited about this incredible facility and the role it will play in the redevelopment of the south downtown Atlanta area, what I am most excited about is that it gives GMA the ability to better serve the needs of Georgia’s cities for generations to come,” said GMA Executive Director Larry Hanson.

Architect SSOE | Stevens & Wilkinson designed the new facility to fit in seamlessly with the existing building, which dates back to 1903. Comprehensive Program Services was the program manager, and the construction was done by NewSouth Construction. Truist (formerly SunTrust Bank) provided financing.

GMA would like to thank the Property Committee:

  • Mayor Phil Best, Dublin; Immediate past president
  • Mayor Vince Williams, Union City; President
  • Mayor Jim Thornton, LaGrange; First Vice President
  • Mayor Julie Smith, Tifton; Second Vice President
  • Mayor Linda Blechinger, Auburn; Past President
  • Mayor Boyd Austin, Dallas; Past President
  • Mayor Sam Norton, Dahlonega
  • Mayor Joe Walter, Zebulon

This article was originally featured in the July/August 2021 edition of Georgia’s Cities Magazine.

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