Aerial view of the CNN Center.
|Former names||Omni Complex (1976–1987)|
|Address||1 CNN Center|
|Current tenants||CNN (1987–present)|
List of stores and restaurants
(WarnerMedia News and Sports)
|Design and construction|
The CNN Center is the world headquarters of CNN. The main newsrooms and studios for several of CNN's news channels are located in the building. The facility's commercial office space is occupied by various units of the former Turner Broadcasting System, now part of the AT&T subsidiary WarnerMedia. The CNN Center is located in downtown Atlanta, Georgia, adjacent to Centennial Olympic Park.
The CNN Center opened in 1976 as the Omni Complex, which was a development by Cousins Properties. The Omni Coliseum, an NBA and NHL arena directly connected to the Omni Complex, opened three years earlier, on October 14, 1972. The Omni Complex largely sat vacant until CNN moved its headquarters there in 1987 from its Midtown Atlanta site (old home of the Progressive Club on 1050 Techwood Drive and home to Turner Broadcasting System). The facility originally offered office space to various business tenants, as well as consulates over the years. The main floor featured an indoor ice skating rink, as well as a small number of restaurants and a Gold Mine video arcade. More famously, Sid and Marty Krofft built an indoor amusement park called The World of Sid and Marty Krofft, inspired by the creations of the popular children's television producers. The park was the first indoor theme park and opened in 1976, but closed within six months. The complex also featured a multi-screen movie theater. For years, the theater offered showings of Gone with the Wind, which Ted Turner called "The greatest movie ever made". The theater was replaced during renovations to put in a new newsroom for CNN's website operations. The ice skating rink was filled in and a mosaic map of the world replaced it (featuring brass markers indicating the locations of CNN bureaux around the world). Prior to moving, CNN and Headline News were based in a former country club on Techwood Drive in Midtown Atlanta, sharing the facility with WTBS, which currently serves as the campus for nearly all other Turner networks and Turner Studios; the mansion facade also served as the logo for Turner's theatrical and home video arms during the 1990s. When CNN networks moved to the CNN Center on July 13, 1987, CNN Headline News (now known as HLN) was the first network to broadcast a show from it at 3.00 ET with its program # 96,915. Their sister channel started live programming at 6.00 p.m. ET of that day.
On May 11, 1997, the Omni Coliseum closed. Its replacement, the Philips Arena (now State Farm Arena), broke ground on June 5, 1997. The Omni Coliseum was imploded on July 26, 1997. It was believed that the CNN Center was damaged after the implosion. The Philips Arena opened on September 18, 1999. The Omni Coliseum's scoreboard is still in use, and is currently the scoreboard at the State Farm Arena.
On April 4, 2007, Arthur Mann, an employee at the Omni Hotel, shot and severely injured his ex-girlfriend Clara Riddles inside the center. The building was evacuated shortly after the first shots were heard. Mann was shot by a Turner Security Officer, and both were taken to a nearby hospital. Riddles later died of her injuries. An autopsy showed that Riddles was shot three times by Mann. The cause of the shooting is unknown.
On March 14, 2008, a EF-2 tornado passed through downtown Atlanta, damaging the CNN Center and leaving water and dust in the upper floors. The ceiling of the atrium was also damaged, causing water to pour in and partially flood the food court. CNN's library was damaged, although it is unknown at the moment how much of its archives were damaged. Numerous injuries and widespread damage were reported overall. The Omni Hotel, attached to the CNN Center, was evacuated as a precaution, and more than 400 rooms had to be emptied of occupancy for two weeks.
On June 13, 2014, a car crashed into the CNN Center causing minor structural damage. The driver of the car claimed to have fallen asleep at the wheel, and was charged with driving under the influence and possession of marijuana.
In 2014, CNN moved all of its weekday anchors and some editorial staff from Atlanta to its operations in New York and Washington, D.C. Currently, no weekday CNN programming originates from Atlanta. CNN's digital operations, its content-subscription service Newsource, HLN, and sister channels CNN en Español and CNN International remain at the CNN Center.
In 2016, Turner Chief Financial Officer Pascal Desroches said the company would divest its 50 percent stake in the center's Omni Hotel in favor of redeveloping its Techwood campus in Atlanta, where other Turner broadcast operations are based.
The CNN Center also houses an Omni Hotel and features a large atrium food court frequented by local business employees, tourists, event goers from State Farm Arena and Mercedes-Benz Stadium, and conference attendees from the Georgia World Congress Center. CNN's multi-channel output to the world is broadcast on large screens around the center. Studio tours are available and include demonstrations of the technologies such as Chroma key and teleprompters, as well as visits to viewing galleries overlooking the newsrooms and anchors of CNN International, HLN, and CNN en Español.
The atrium escalator that is used to transport visitors on the CNN tour has been listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the longest freestanding (supported only at the ends) escalator in the world at 196 feet (60 m) long. It was built for the theme park that once occupied the building, and it is part of the building's structure and could not be removed. MARTA rail service is provided to the CNN Center at the Dome/GWCC/Philips Arena/CNN Center station. It is also a Ten-Fifteen Minute walk from Peachtree Center Station for the Red and Gold Lines
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