7:48 am
Fri December 7, 2012

Atlanta Civic Center Needs A "Facelift"

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Prince, Chris Rock, Porgy and Bess, and King Tut have something in common. They’ve either performed or been on display at the Atlanta Civic Center.

A view of the Atlanta Civic Center from Piedmont and Ralph McGill.
Credit Charles Edwards / WABE News

The event space is 47 years old.

“We’ve had minimal improvements or changes,” said Civic Center director Ann Marie Moraitakis. “It’s time for a little facelift.”

Ann Marie Moraitakis is the director of the Atlanta Civic Center.
Credit Charles Edwards / WABE News

But before the facility goes under the knife, officials have to figure out what they want the Civic Center to look like when the bandages come off.

The Civic Center has a 4,600 seat theater. Moraitakis says it’s been hard to fill those seats.

“While we still do shows in the theater and have some wonderful entertainment acts, there aren’t as many of those,” said Moraitakis.

And that means not as many tickets sold. The Center ended its second to last fiscal year $13,000 in the red.

Its last fiscal year ended $300,000 in the red. Moraitakis says theater ticket sales have been down in other venues in Atlanta and across the nation.

“So, we have to look at other ways to increase revenue,” said Moraitakis.

So far, those other ways have included renting space in its 100,000 square foot exhibit facility for "The 3 Stooges", "Flight", and other recent movies. The zombie TV show, "The Walking Dead", filmed its pilot episode there. Moraitakis says calls to use the Civic Center for the big and small screen haven’t stopped. And it might be the Civic Center’s new direction.

“We could expand the studio space for movies and TV and keep the theater or consider alternatives for how we utilize the theater currently,” said Moraitakis. “Maybe some more options in the theater. Or, we could redevelop the entire site.”

Another option could be to keep the Civic Center the way it is. If that happens, Moraitakis says the venue would need to replace its 15 year old roof. The move could be costly. The city owns the Civic Center, but the facility gets no city funding for operations. The Center’s money comes from ticket sales and charging rent.

The city will consider options in the New Year.

No time table has been announced for making a final decision.