Attendance: Bill Gould, Curt Flaherty, Rob Levin, Eric Brock, John
Reagan, Bill Seay, Suzanne Blair, Frances
Hamilton, Mike Koblentz (Chair of the Northwest Community Alliance), Rob
Smulian and Deborah Ryan (The Atlanta Contemporary Art Center),
and Brian Newman (Image Film and Video). Thanks to the Contemporay
Art Center for the meeting room.
BACKGROUND OF SPEAKER: Jeff Swanagan
works for the Marcus Foundation and is the Executive Director of
The Georgia Aquarium. He is a former science teacher turned Zoo
Manager (1980-87 Columbus Zoo with Jack Hannah, 1987-98 Atlanta
Zoo) turned Aquarium Manager (1998-2001 Florida Aquarium, 2001-
The Georgia Aquarium). He is a member of the American Zoo and Aquarium
AQUARIUM GENERAL INFORMATION: The Aquarium will occupy approximately
9 acres of the 23 acre site directly to the north of Centennial
Olympic Park. The property
is currently owned by the Coca Cola Company.
There are 36 aquaria operating in the United States. Of
the 14 largest, only 2 make a profit; The Georgia Aquarium is being
designed to be non-profit, but will independently generate its own
operating expenses. The Aquarium will be the biggest in the U.S. at 5 million gallons; the next largest
aquarium in the U.S., not including oceanaria
like Sea World, is 2.4 million gallons. It will enclose approximately
300,000 square feet of space. The
Georgia Aquarium is planned to exhibit 90% marine (salt water) animals
and 10% freshwater. There is expected to be a huge economic impact
on the surrounding hotels and businesses, with 3.5 million conventioneers
and tourists visiting the area annually (as an example, The Tennessee
Aquarium has added $200 million of additional annual revenue for
Chattanooga). The main players, working under
a confidentiality agreement at the moment, are the Marcus Foundation,
Coca Cola, TVSA (architects for the World of Coke) and Heery/Fabrap
International (architects for The Georgia Aquarium). Because of
the early developmental stage, little of the design plans which
may impact the immediate streetscape such as interactive frontage
(storefronts, protected tanks with outward viewing) or after hours
availability for jogging etc. were addressed, although Gary Swanagan
did say they were thinking seriously about these issues. No renderings
are available at this date.
Georgia Department of Transportation traffic study has already been
completed for the Jones-Simpson-Alexander Street expansion. The expansion will be underway shortly. However, the GDOT study will be revised to take
into account the new development.
Dan Graveline, Director of the Georgia World Congress Center, has suggested that trolleys may be
used to supplement public transportation in the area. There is not an independent Traffic or Impact
Study going on presently for The Georgia Aquarium. Any negative
impact findings from such a study would generate an even greater
need for a Master Plan of our area.
CONCLUSION: The Artery has a major role in the spatial/visual relationship
between the aquarium, World of Coke, and Children’s Museum to the
Atlantic Station development and will serve in the future as the
corridor/mall that connects the aquarium cultural area to Atlantic
Station, Home Park, Loring Heights, Berkeley
Park, and Georgia Tech. This relationship may be helpful in getting
Master Plan funding.
A new Commissioner of Planning for
the City of Atlanta is due to take office in November.
Bill Seay (Home Park) suggests that scheduling an introductory
appointment with him or perhaps giving him the opportunity to attend
our next neighborhood meeting may be of significant benefit to the
Artery, as he will be heavily involved in the early development
of the Project.