Gov. and First Lady Kemp, Hilton president and CEO Chris Nassetta and other distinguished guests gathered for a ribbon-cutting ceremony on the front lawn of the Signia by Hilton Atlanta Thursday afternoon in celebration of the hotel's official opening to the public. Photo by Janelle Ward/The Atlanta Voice

Georgia Governor Brian Kemp, Hilton executives and shareholders and leaders from the Georgia World Congress Center Authority came together to celebrate the grand opening of the Signia by Hilton Atlanta hotel in downtown on Thursday afternoon, the largest ground-up hotel development the city has seen in four decades.

Lauded for its close proximity to signature Atlanta landmarks like State Farm Arena, Centennial Olympic Park and Mercedes-Benz Stadium, the 976-room, 40-story hotel features eight food and beverage establishments, over 100,000 square feet of event space and the largest hotel ballroom in the entire state, while standing as the tallest building on the city’s westside.

Photos by Janelle Ward/The Atlanta Voice

“Today, our championship campus is a beacon of inspiration, showcasing what can be achieved when visionary leadership, dedicated teams and supportive communities come together,” said Brian Daniel, chair of the Georgia World Congress Center Authority’s Board of Governors. “We didn’t just build something. We’ve shaped the future of hosting events and economic development on the west side of Atlanta.”

Construction of the Signia began in May of 2021, after the GWCCA officially selected Hilton as the hotel’s operator in 2020. Although, the project’s earliest stages trace back to over a decade ago, under the governance of Kemp’s predecessor, Nathan Deal, who was also present for Tuesday’s ribbon-cutting.

Gov. Kemp, in his remarks, thanked the former governor for his approval and backing of the hotel since its inception, stating that the current condition of Georgia’s economy and the state’s national status are direct results of his leadership.

“(Deal) certainly laid the groundwork for this unprecedented position that we’re in today,” Kemp said. “This project was first conceived during his time in office, and he supported it knowing this facility would be an essential part of attracting visitors and businesses to our state.”

The ceremony’s speakers reiterated that Georgia is defined by both its capacity for tourism and its ability to attract economic opportunity on a national scale. Daniel said that Georgia has been recognized as the best state in America to do business for 10 consecutive years and that the tourism industry stands as the state’s second-largest economy.

Atlanta specifically stands as Hilton’s largest international market. Kemp said the city is home to 136 Hilton hotels belonging to 13 brands and that an additional 40 hotels in the area are currently in development. Chris Nassetta, president and CEO of Hilton, also identified Atlanta as the company’s “most important market”, with the Signia serving as the first newly-built hotel of its kind in the world.

“We (operate in) 130 countries around the world, but very few (properties), if any, are as important as this and have the kind of impact that this has,” Nassetta said. “This is one of the best properties we have in the world amongst any of our 22 brands.”

Nassetta also said that the hotel brings approximately 800 permanent jobs to Atlanta, many of which are already filled by employees entirely new to the hospitality industry.

“It really is wonderful to be here to celebrate,” Nassetta said. “I think (the Signia’s completion) is a milestone for Atlanta and a milestone for the state of Georgia.”