AT&T sells, will lease CNN Center

A large real estate holding company announced late Thursday that it has finalized a deal for it to purchase CNN Center in Atlanta. AT&T has owned the building since buying Time Warner, parent company of Turner Broadcasting and CNN. BOB ANDRES /BANDRES@AJC.COM
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A large real estate holding company announced late Thursday that it has finalized a deal for it to purchase CNN Center in Atlanta. AT&T has owned the building since buying Time Warner, parent company of Turner Broadcasting and CNN. BOB ANDRES /BANDRES@AJC.COM

Credit: Bob Andres

Credit: Bob Andres

Florida-based company announces deal to buy complex

A Florida-based real estate company has purchased the iconic CNN Center in downtown Atlanta, but its current occupants are staying put.

CP Group, which is based in Boca Raton, announced late Thursday that it has reached a deal to buy the complex next to Centennial Olympic Park.

AT&T, which owns CNN as a result of its 2018 acquisition of Time Warner, will lease the building from its new owners for a “a number of years.”

The deal comes as AT&T prepares to spin off WarnerMedia, whose holdings include CNN, and combine it with Discovery and its stable of networks.

ExploreWhat does the WarnerMedia-Discovery deal mean for CNN and former Turner properties?

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported last month that long-range plans call for many if not most CNN employees to move from the downtown site to buildings near Georgia Tech that were recently renovated. Those offices already house TNT, Cartoon Network and other WarnerMedia networks.

WarnerMedia has about 6,000 employees in Atlanta.

A price was not disclosed for CNN Center.

A&T announced last year it would sell the landmark development, although it planned to lease it back for at least five years and allow CNN to continue operating from there.

A spokesman for WarnerMedia declined Friday to say how long CNN will remain in the building or share more information. A spokeswoman for CP Group declined to answer questions about the price or the plans for the iconic CNN sign.

CNN Center, which includes five towers and several hundred thousand feet of retail space, has long been the symbol of the global news network, as well as a magnet for worldwide attention.

CNN has occupied its namesake building since 1987, when Ted Turner moved the network there from its original home on the Techwood campus. But many employees have been working from home amid the pandemic.

In May 2020, during protests over the death of George Floyd at the hands of police in Minnesota, Atlanta protestors rallied around the CNN Center, damaging a large sign with CNN’s red logo at one of the building’s main entrances.

ExploreMassive CNN logo at CNN Center is an Atlanta tourist landmark

On Sept. 11, 2001, after planes slammed into the World Trade Center, officials, fearing the network’s global prominence would make it a target, had the CNN Center locked down for hours.

ExploreCNN Center history: Epic downtown development failure still remembered fondly

WHAT’S AHEAD?

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported last month that long-range plans call for many if not most CNN employees to move from the downtown site to buildings near Georgia Tech that were recently renovated. Those offices already house TNT, Cartoon Network and other WarnerMedia networks.