Site of former Georgia Dome in Atlanta eyed as potential entertainment complex

Home Depot Backyard, an 11-acre green space in the shadow of Mercedes-Benz Stadium, is being evaluated for a mixed-use makeover.
Georgia Tech fans play cornhole at the Home Depot Backyard before Tech’s game against Louisville in the Aflac Kickoff Game at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Friday, September 1, 2023, in Atlanta. (Jason Getz /



Georgia Tech fans play cornhole at the Home Depot Backyard before Tech’s game against Louisville in the Aflac Kickoff Game at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Friday, September 1, 2023, in Atlanta. (Jason Getz /

The 11-acre Home Depot Backyard next to Mercedes-Benz Stadium might not be greenspace in the near future.

The property, which takes up most of the footprint of the former Georgia Dome, is being evaluated for potential mixed-use development by its owner, the Georgia World Congress Center Authority (GWCCA). The state-backed authority issued a public call last week for developers and architects to envision how they would transform the Home Depot Backyard into an entertainment complex that complements downtown’s alluring roster of sports and event venues.

The endeavor — albeit in its earliest development stages — has the potential to add new attractions and connectivity between Mercedes-Benz Stadium, the 1.5-million square foot congress center and the newly opened Signia by Hilton high-rise hotel.

“GWCCA envisions a seamless integration of convention facilities, entertainment venues and greenspaces, fostering a sense of community and excitement,” an authority spokesperson said in a statement. “The proposed project will not only enhance the appeal of GWCCA’s campus but also contribute to the economic vitality of the surrounding area, attracting visitors from near and far.”

Opened in 2018, the Home Depot Backyard is used as flexible space for pop-up events throughout the year, including many centered around the Atlanta Falcons, Atlanta United and other events taking place at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

The GWCCA issued a request for qualifications April 1 to seek potential development partners, aiming to form a coalition of up to five firms. While project specifics are sparse, the authority said its vision for a redeveloped Home Depot Backyard includes 250,000 square feet of new development focused on entertainment and hospitality uses.

Companies that issue a submission are asked to provide conceptual designs, schematics or other construction-related site plans. No budget has been set for the project.

While hospitality is mentioned, the request for qualifications does not mention any residential or office components, both real estate segments that have gotten a lot of focus in downtown.

Atlanta leaders have pushed to get more people living in the city center, with efforts like the $5 billion Centennial Yards development and city-backed 2 Peachtree Street conversion gaining stream. Downtown stakeholders have also considered converting empty office buildings — a problem exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic’s impacts on the city’s office market — into new residences.

GWCCA owns the Signia hotel, which opened in January, and Mercedes-Benz Stadium, but the latter is operated by AMB Group, the parent company of the Atlanta Falcons and Atlanta United. An AMB Group spokesperson declined to comment, saying it’s too early in the process for more specifics.

“As we embark on this exploration process, GWCCA remains committed to ensuring that the proposed entertainment project aligns with the interests and aspirations of all involved parties,” the GWCCA’s statement said. “Together, we look forward to creating a world-class destination that celebrates the spirit and diversity of Atlanta.”

Brian Warrel, a Howard University fan, plays Cornhole at the Home Depot Backyard in Downtown Atlanta before the start of the Celebration Bowl last December. The fan-friendly site opened in 2018 after the Falcons moved to Mercedes-Benz Stadium, and has since served as a flexible space for pop-up events each year, including flashbulb affairs that cater to Atlanta's professional sports teams. Photo by Steve Schaefer/

Credit: Steve Schaefer

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Credit: Steve Schaefer

Submissions are due May 1.

Future of Downtown

This story is part of an occasional series by the AJC to look at the future of Atlanta’s downtown. Several high-profile developments are poised to bring billions of dollars into the city’s core while it continues to grapple with the fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic and a challenging real estate financing market.