Making History in Downtown Atlanta with Brian McGowan

Dot Dot Dot: The NINE dot ARTS Podcast
Episode 33

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What’s the difference between a place where people want to be and a place where they just pass through? This insightful conversation between host Martha Weidmann and Centennial Yards President Brian McGowan explores this question and more in the context of downtown Atlanta’s transformation into the ultimate live/work/play/shop destination. Some answers? Walkability, human-scale buildings, cultural expression, and ultra-connectivity among people and place. CIM Group is bringing each of these attributes to life for Centennial Yards, a 50-acre urban revitalization project that will transform an underutilized “hole in the heart of the city” into a flourishing destination for businesses, retail, world-class entertainment, and enriching community connections. Emphasizing the project’s focus on equity and inclusion, Brian shares how the development is engaging local and underrepresented artists and entrepreneurs to work side by side with global brands, meanwhile reflecting the city’s rich history, progression, heart, and hustle.

Discussed in the Episode: 
CIM Group
Centennial Yards
Atlanta Hosts the 2026 FIFA World Cup
Tony Ressler, Principal Owner of the Atlanta Hawks Basketball Club
The Gulch – Nashville, Tennessee
LA Live
Invest Atlanta
Atlanta BeltLine, Inc.
Atlanta BeltLine Arts and Culture
Atlanta History
Centennial Olympic Park
Mercedes Benz Stadium
Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA)
Water Street Tampa
Bedrock Detroit
Hudson Yards New York
Castleberry Hill Arts District Atlanta
The Battery Atlanta
Atlantic Station
Avalon Mixed-Use Development
Foster + Partners
Perkins & Will
New Year’s Eve Peach Drop
Spilt Milk Sculpture at Dairy Block
Artist Lela Brunet

About Brian McGowan, President of Centennial Yards:

Brian McGowan is the President of Centennial Yards, a CIM Group Company, aimed to be the most exciting sports, entertainment, and business district in the country in the heart of Atlanta.McGowan has over 20 years of economic development experience working at all levels of government. He was appointed by President Obama as U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of Commerce and also served as Economic Solutions Team Lead in the National Incident Command set up by the President to respond to the BP Oil Spill. Prior to that, he was appointed by Governor Schwarzenegger to serve as Deputy Secretary of Commerce for the State of California.

In Atlanta, he served as CEO of Invest Atlanta and CEO of the Atlanta Beltline. McGowan was also the Executive Vice President/COO of the Metro Atlanta Chamber and Principal of the global law firm Dentons. Additionally, Governor Deal appointed McGowan to the Board of the Fort McPherson Redevelopment Authority where he served for five years. Most recently he was the founding CEO of Greater Seattle Partners which promoted and grew one of the most economically influential regions in the world. McGowan is a board member for the Atlanta Visitors and Convention Bureau, Central Atlanta Progress, and the Fulton County Sheriff’s Foundation. He also serves as Chair of the Board for the Center for Civic Innovation in Atlanta and is a Non-resident Fellow at the Brookings Institute.

About Dot Dot Dot: The NINE dot ARTS Podcast
Dot Dot Dot is the continuing conversation around art and placemaking in the built environment. Hosted by NINE dot ARTS CEO Martha Weidmann, episodes explore art, culture, community, and more with a range of reputable business leaders. Tune in biweekly to learn how an original art experience can boost your business and make a social impact. All episodes will be available on our YouTube Channel or wherever you get your podcasts!