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Downtown entertainment district gets rebrand - Centennial Park District

April 5,2016

www.bizjournals.com

Six years ago, David D. Marvin, president of Legacy Ventures, began organizing businesses and attractions around Centennial Olympic Park for a collective marketing campaign. He saw enough star power — CNN Studio Tour, the Georgia Aquarium, the Omni Hotel, the World of Coca-Cola, Phillips Arena, restaurants and museums — to create a downtown entertainment district.

“It was a jewel whose diverse attractions could draw all kinds of visitors,” said Marvin, who owns four hotels and 10 restaurants in the district. Seeing that the sum could be greater than its parts, neighborhood stakeholders formed the 501(c)(6) Luckie Marietta District with the goals of educating and attracting more visitors.

Stretching from the Georgia Aquarium to the Georgia World Congress Center and bounded by Centennial Olympic Park Drive and Baker, Luckie, Marietta and Latimer streets, the district has continued to add attractions, including SkyView Atlanta, the Center for Civil and Human Rights, and the College Football Hall of Fame. Now it has a new football stadium underway, along with renovations to Centennial Park, a second attraction at SkyView Atlanta, new Post Properties residences and Legacy Ventures breaking ground for two new hotels.

“Anyone thinking about investing in a tourist facility in Atlanta is giving serious thought to this area,” said Marvin. In the last 12 months, the group hired a professional firm to rebrand the district, transferred administrative management to Central Atlanta Progress Inc., and changed the name to Centennial Park District.

“I think it’s a smart move. Luckie Marietta doesn’t mean much to most people and it’s confusing, whereas Centennial Olympic Park is a recognizable landmark and more informative to visitors,” said Ken Bernhardt, marketing consultant and Regents Professor of Marketing Emeritus at Georgia State University.

Tillman Douglas, Atlanta native and managing director of The Partnership, won the rebranding bid. He plans to build traction relying on earned media and to focus on increasing local traffic to build campaign excitement. Later, he envisions advertising aimed at national and international travelers and convention visitors.

“That’s when CAP can help leverage the cost through grants and corporate sponsorships. In the long run, increasing visitors and hospitality dollars will positively impact the city,” said Douglas.

Wilma Sothern, vice president of marketing at CAP, said promoting Centennial Park District as a downtown entertainment nexus fits well with CAP’s mission to promote all of downtown Atlanta and its six distinct communities as seen in its “Imagine Downtown 2.0” development plan.