By Malloy Peterson, Vice President of Marketing, Carter
ATLANTA (Nov. 23, 2010) - Home Depot co-founder Bernie Marcus, who singlehandedly created one of the South's largest tourist attractions in downtown Atlanta, is working to bring a second one to the city's core.
Marcus is working with Atlanta business and civic leaders to bring the "Atlanta Eye" to the area near Atlanta's Centennial Olympic Park. The Atlanta Eye would be a large sightseeing wheel similar to the London Eye, is one of the most-popular attractions in Europe. The destination, shown at left in Wikimedia photo, attracted 3.7 million visitors last year.
Tourists who board the London Eye climb into a climate-controlled capsule. Each capsule on the Eye holds 25 people and travels 45 stories high. The Atlanta Eye would be a copy of the London Eye.
Atlanta Eye organizers have just begun its site-selection process and recently retained Carter to assist it in the search for the right spot. They'll need about 2 to 3 acres for the attraction that will reach 45 stories in Atlanta's skyline.
Carter President Scott Taylor is heading up the team at Carter. "Downtown Atlanta is approaching critical mass when it comes to major attractions. The Georgia Aquarium, new World of Coca-Cola, the Children's Museum and other destinations have created an incredible base," Taylor said. "The Atlanta Eye would complement these attractions, help downtown maintain its momentum and become a major destination on its own."
Carter also is advising the National Health Museum in its search for land near Centennial Olympic Park. Click here for a recent update on the search from NHM President David Roland.
On Nov. 9, Marcus convened a meeting of government and business leaders at McKenna Long Aldridge's downtown offices to promote and gauge interest in the plan to bring an Eye to Atlanta. In an exclusive interview with Atlanta Business Chronicle columnist Maria Saporta, Marcus says he thought about Atlanta getting its own version of the London Eye even before he opened the Georgia Aquarium in 2005.
"I thought this would be absolutely sensational," Marcus told Saporta. "It's like nothing I've ever seen before. There is no sound. There's virtually no movement. All of a sudden you are up 45 floors looking around 360 degrees."
Excitement about the Atlanta Eye comes amid of a series of good news for downtown Atlanta. They include the College Football Hall of Fame's selection of a site for its museum, the federal government's decision to give $47.6 million for the Atlanta Streetcar and Cox Enterprises' $50 million donation of the former Atlanta Journal-Constitution headquarters to the city of Atlanta.
"I think we are executing the plan," Central Atlanta Progress President A.J. Robinson recently told WABE's Charles Edwards. "These last two weeks we've had pretty good two weeks of good news. People just weren't paying attention during the recession because we were working on all of these things."