Feasibility study underway for a convention center in DeKalb County

Lorraine Cochran-Johnson 11

Commissioner Lorraine Cochran-Johnson



DECATUR, GADiscover DeKalb has retained C.H. Johnson Consulting Inc. to engage in a comprehensive market analysis for the feasibility of a new event and hospitality epicenter, which may include a convention/conference center, performing arts center, and hotel.

Johnson Consulting will be joined by TVS Design, an Atlanta-based architecture and design firm, for the study, which was made possible by discretionary funds of DeKalb Commissioner Lorraine Cochran-Johnson.

Last week, Johnson Consulting kicked off the project with a countywide tour and meetings with various stakeholders, including the DeKalb County Board of Commissioners, the DeKalb County Board of Education, representatives from the Chamber of Commerce, Decide DeKalb, and Discover DeKalb, as well as meeting and event planners, and several arts and cultural organizations.

“The development of a convention/conference center in DeKalb County is long overdue,” said Commissioner Cochran-Johnson. “There have been studies previously conducted, however there was no action. I think the time is right to act and I look forward to the impact such a facility will have on our county.”

This week, the consulting team will begin its market analysis, which will include industry trends, comparable case studies, and competitive and local markets. Subsequent phases of the project will include a financial and operating analysis, site analysis, and a final report outlining the consulting team’s findings, conclusions, recommendations and implementation strategy.

“I was impressed by the team that Discover DeKalb put together for the study and am looking forward to the market feasibility study as a basis for considering the County’s needs,” said DeKalb Commissioner Jeff Rader.

Johnson Consulting will utilize proven methodologies for preparing market demand and financial analyses to empower stakeholders to make informed decisions. Upon completion of the study, Discover DeKalb is expected to have a clear understanding of the risks and rewards of a future facility development strategy that would generate the greatest return on investment and economic impact for the region and its residents.

“The presence of a convention/conference center will allow DeKalb to compete with local and regional municipalities who have existing facilities,” said James Tsismanakis, director of Discover DeKalb. “It is our goal to position DeKalb to be unique, so the facility will attract events and generate revenue for the venue, local restaurants, hotels, and businesses. The possibilities are countless, so we have engaged the best possible team on this effort.””

Since its inception in 1996, Johnson Consulting has conducted hundreds of engagements in the U.S., Central and South America, Asia, Africa and Europe. Headquartered in Chicago, Illinois, the company focuses on economic, market, and financial analysis for a variety of land uses, including retail, housing, sports venues, convention/conference centers, hotels, and specialized expansion through pre-development and continued operation.  

“Our work and reputation in this space speaks for itself,” said Charles Johnson, CEO of Johnson Consulting. “We are proud to have been a part of some of the most dynamic projects in America and are eager to continuing our partnership with DeKalb County.”


One comment

  • S

    June 9, 2021 at 3:21 pm

    I’m happy to read that a possible convention center is gaining steam.Hopefully, it will become a reality.

    It would be nice to see certain events take place in South DeKalb County. Whenever,I would go to the former Civic Center for graduations or the Infinite Energy Center for Japanfest,I was always baffled to why DeKalb County never had one. Initially,I thought that the Porter Sanford center was going to be such when it was first built,but I learned otherwise.

    I’m going to keep hoping and praying for this project to come to fruition.As mentioned on here a convention center for DeKalb county is long overdue.


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