What is the Grand New View project?
Grand New View is Zoo Atlanta’s project to revitalize the former Cyclorama building and its adjacent surroundings. The project will create an all-new African savanna featuring a dramatically expanded elephant habitat and new habitats for other African wildlife; a one-of-a-kind event destination; and a grand entry plaza in keeping with the historic charm of our community. Grand New View is slated to open in early 2019.
How and when did the Grand New View project start?
In June 2014, Mayor Kasim Reed approached Zoo Atlanta and asked the Zoo to incorporate the Cyclorama building into its leasehold. The Zoo was not initially prepared to incorporate this property. However, the tremendous gift of Lloyd and Mary Ann Whitaker to the Atlanta History Center – enabling the Cyclorama building’s famous “Battle of Atlanta” painting to be transferred to the History Center – had set forth an amazing sequence of events that could leave a footprint on the future for both the Atlanta History Center and Zoo Atlanta, and as such, on the cultural future of the entire City of Atlanta. Mayor Reed announced plans for the Cyclorama on July 23, 2014.
How is Grand New View related to the Grant Park Gateway project?
While they are next-door neighbors, these are two different projects. The Grant Park Gateway Project is the City of Atlanta’s parking and mobility solution for the entire Grant Park community and is being managed by the City of Atlanta. The City agreed to fund and manage that project in 2014 at the time of the announcement of the plans for the Cyclorama. Grand New View, on the other hand, is Zoo Atlanta’s project and is being managed by the Zoo.
How was Grand New View funded?
It was necessary for the Zoo to undertake a major fundraising campaign to be able to accept the Cyclorama building and the property immediately surrounding the structure. In November 2014, the Zoo received a $20 million grant from the Robert W. Woodruff Foundation. The grant would match other gifts on a 1:1 basis and marked the launch of the Zoo’s “Grand New View: Elephants, Events and Expansion” capital campaign. In May 2016, Zoo Atlanta announced that over 18 months, it had successfully raised $41 million against an original campaign goal of $38 million. The Zoo has since raised a total of $42.5 million for the project.
What happened next?
Once funds had been raised for Grand New View, the Zoo’s permitting process was initiated in 2016, beginning with review by the Urban Design Commission and concluding with the issuance of permits from the City of Atlanta. The Zoo obtained a Land Disturbance Permit in May 2017 and a Building Permit in September 2017.
What’s happening now?
In early fall 2017, visible project progress began in the form of construction fencing and windscreens in front of and behind the Cyclorama building, which will debut in 2019 as Savanna Hall. This coincided with demolition projects in the interior of the building as the Zoo began efforts to revitalize the structure. Although the building is being revitalized, its famous historic façade will remain intact.
Stay tuned for more updates as Grand New View progresses!