April Summit Recap: Community Opportunities from Mercedes-Benz Sports and Entertainment Complex on the Westside

Community members and business leaders attended the April 21 Transform Westside Summit to learn about the economic opportunities coming to the area by way of a 40-story hotel going up on the Georgia World Congress Center campus. As always, the morning opened with connection and community building, where members of the audience shared resources they have for the group’s collective efforts to improve the Westside. Quasandria “Q” Turner, director of Westside Works, led the devotion.

Frank Poe, executive director of Georgia World Congress Center (GWCC), and Teri Agosta, general manager of the soon-to-open Signia by Hilton Atlanta, gave an overview of the project’s history and their intentionality in highlighting both the Westside and Atlanta as a whole in their concepts. 

Project Highlights

“This new hotel allows us to keep our guests and customers on the campus. If you look at it in a holistic fashion—between the Omni Hotel, State Farm Arena, Insignia by Hilton, Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Centennial Yards—what’s occurring is a shift in the movement and the center of downtown more Westward, which we think will expose our guests to opportunities in concert with what’s already occurring across the Westside.” –Frank Poe, executive director of Georgia World Congress Center

  • The 976-room hotel is set to open January 2024.
  • The GWCC Authority made a commitment to English Avenue and Vine City to structure the hotel’s front-facing window to have a Northside address, enhancing connectivity and offering a bird’s eye view of these historic Westside neighborhoods.
  • The revenues associated with the hotel service the debt, so it’s not an obligation of the state of Georgia, but of GWCC.
  • The hotel will offer eight food and beverage outlets, including Capolinea, Italian for terminus, which was the original name of Atlanta.
  • A 40,000 square-foot ballroom–the largest in the state–with direct access to GWCC.

Career Opportunities 

“We’re going to hire for attitude and train for aptitude. There are a lot of opportunities for people who want to be in front of people. You have to want to serve and you have to want to better people’s lives.” –Teri Agosta, general manager, Signia by Hilton Atlanta

  • The hotel will host Career Fairs to educate the community on jobs available. Bellmen, concierge, front desk representatives, servers and housekeepers will be on-site to educate prospective employees on day-to-day duties and wages.
  • Career opportunities will be made available through the hotel’s Facebook, Instagram and Linkedin profiles.

Audience Questions

  • Will there be any intentional efforts to help elevate legacy businesses? 
    • We are helping individual and small businesses get certified as Equal Business Opportunity through the state. Many of our current vendors are part of the EBO program; we’re very conscious of that and we keep track of it.
  • Very little has been done to improve the pedestrian accessibility and connections on Northside Drive. With this massive investment, what plans exist to improve Northside Drive?
    • Georgia Department of Transportation (GDOT) is currently working on plans that would remake and beautify a segment of Northside Drive so it’s more connected. Those plans are under development. We’re scheduled to meet with GDOT in the next couple of months as they refine those plans.  
  • What about parking? Vine City residents are working hard and close with the City of Atlanta to stop overflow parking.
    • We built additional structured parking through the Orange Deck that basically connects the hotel to Mercedes-Benz Stadium. The hotel itself sits on top of what we formerly called the Gold Deck, so we’ve expanded that parking deck. There’s more than enough parking on campus to satisfy what the hotel guests may require as part of their stay on the campus.

Miss the event? Watch the full Transform Westside Summit on YouTube.