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Atlanta Arts and Entertainment District:
A New Sign District for Downtown

The Atlanta Arts and Entertainment District is a proposed neighborhood activation and economic development project for Downtown Atlanta. It is powered by future outdoor media that will create light, vitality and activity Downtown through non-traditional and creative means while supporting commercial investment and addressing the needs and demands of national and international events hosted in Atlanta. 

As the physical and symbolic center of the city and the region, Downtown must grow and evolve as the preferred dense, diverse and active market place for commerce and entertainment.  Digital signage and media, managed in a coordinated way, can play a significant role in supporting this desired activity and defining Atlanta’s culture and brand.

When adopted by the Atlanta City Council, the District will provide new advertising sign rights for private property owners provided that the signage is executed in an innovative and creative manner that protects the aesthetics of Downtown. Further, the new media assets will be made available for specially managed programming that supports Downtown revitalization goals. 

BENEFITS

The District self-funds its management and programming through revenue sharing agreements with the media companies within the District.  The benefits include the following:

  • Downtown Atlanta activation due to new and enhanced streetscapes and public gathering spaces that are enjoyed day-in and day-out and can host events and programs using the enhanced signage as the venue and leveraging the talents of Atlanta’s diverse and thriving music, art and sports culture.
  • Increased nighttime activity in Downtown because the signage is inherently bright and programmed with art and entertainment special events that are supported and financed by the District. 
  • Activation of currently blank walls on buildings and parking decks in Downtown utilizing innovative, creative and engaging media techniques.
  • Increased economic activity in Downtown.  Notably increased real estate investment due to the additional, new revenue potential for a project that includes digital media components, as well as property valuation increases which lead to increased property tax revenues due to investment in existing building infrastructure and new building revenues from sign leases.
  • The City’s ability to easily deliver a unified look and feel via a media “clean zone” as required by large special events notably the NCAA Final Four, the College Football Championship Game and the NFL’s Super Bowl.  Further, the new and coordinated media assets can be leveraged to position Atlanta as a premier location to attract national and international events.

THE SIGN PLAN

The Sign Plan will be adopted by Atlanta City Council and establishes the District’s aesthetic guidelines that ensure quality and creative installations.  The Plan describes the supplemental types and amount of signage allowed in the District in order to:

  1. Facilitate the creation and recognition of a unique Downtown Arts and Entertainment District that highlights Atlanta’s cultural attractions and supports Atlanta through tourism, economic development and City based branding;
  2. Provide a higher standard of visual interest through quality sign design and artistic context by giving flexibility in the size, type and location of signs within the District in recognition of the economic development purpose that is best met by a managed process; and
  3. Generate light and activity Downtown, while using a managed process to mitigate possible adverse impacts of large format sign installations on surrounding locations and structures.

WHO IS INVOLVED?

The District will be coordinated by the Downtown Atlanta Community Improvement District (managed by Central Atlanta Progress.)  A dedicated Board of Directors comprised of representatives of Downtown’s arts and entertainment organizations will be formed to guide the execution and operations of the District.  These partners include:

  • Atlanta Convention & Visitors Bureau
  • Atlanta Sports Council
  • Arts, Entertainment and Sports Organizations
  • Downtown Property Owners
  • Media Companies

WHERE IS IT?

The District geography has been identified as the core of the center city surrounding Downtown’s existing special event venues, destinations and public gathering places. It is generally bounded by Courtland Street to the east, Ivan Allen Jr. Boulevard to the north, Northside Drive to the west and Mitchell Street to the south.

NEXT STEPS

October 2016 - introduction of Atlanta City Council legislation

January 2017 – completion of legislative process (including Atlanta Zoning Review Board and community meetings) with Atlanta City Council approval

February 2017 - District 501(c)(3) not-for-profit is formed and Board of Directors is constituted.  Programming priorities and budgets are established.

March 2017 – District is launched through issuance of new Sign Permits.

 

If you have questions or need more information, contact Jennifer Ball.