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State to raze metro chamber soon for Centennial expansion

Centennial Olympic Park moved one step closer Tuesday to expanding its boundaries.

The Georgia World Congress Center Authority decided it will begin demolishing the Metro Atlanta Chamber building, which sits next to the 21-acre park on Marietta Street downtown, in late January or early February next year.

GWCCA officials said it would take about 90 days and $200,000 to raze the chamber offices, which the authority bought for $10.5 million earlier this year. Another $150,000 is being set aside to prepare the site for its future use as greenspace.

“Demolition is estimated to take about three months,” said Adam Straight, the GWCCA’s senior director of project and program management.

The GWCCA, which oversees operation of the state-owned park, is in the midst of a $25 million fundraising campaign to update Centennial Olympic, including adding more space for lucrative outdoor events like paid concerts and convention dinners in the park for Microsoft and other groups.

The fundraising also will help the park build a new pedestrian plaza, revamp its amphitheater, install a bike depot and create views of neighboring attractions such as Georgia Aquarium, World of Coca-Cola and Children’s Museum of Atlanta. Razing the chamber make it possible to see from the park the College Football Hall of Fame and the Marietta Street entrance of the Georgia World Congress Center, the nation’s fourth largest convention facility.

The campaign has received millions in corporate contributions, including $1 million checks from Coca-Cola, North Carolina-based Bank of America and AT&T, which is headquartered in Dallas but has substantial digital operations in metro Atlanta. The Woodruff Foundation donated $10 million last November.

In March, the downtown Atlanta attraction also relaunched its “Adopt-A-Brick” program to help pay for the park enhancements.

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