CNN puts its namesake Atlanta center up for sale

WarnerMedia has announced it will be selling CNN Center in Atlanta, but emphasized it would continue to maintain a presence in the city while skirting questions about possible layoffs.

CNN moved into the complex in 1987 after spending its early years in a former country club in the Techwood region of the Atlanta.

WarnerMedia continues to operate Turner Broadcasting properties from Techwood and other facilities in Altanta and says that “some” CNN Center based employees will be relocated there. The company will reportedly lease back space in CNN Center for five years.

The Techwood campus was recently named after CNN founder Ted Turner. 

CNN has continued to label CNN Center at its “world headquarters” even as the network invested heavily in new facilities in Washington, D.C. along with its Time Warner Center and, later, Hudson Yards, buildings in New York City.

Most of the network’s broadcast day now originates from either of those facilities — and the network has spent big on new and upgraded sets in those locations, while CNN Center has not seen major studio updates in years. 

WarnerMedia is also working on a Culver City, California, facility in the Ivy Station development as a sort of West Coast operations hub. 

Sister network HLN’s “Morning Express” and “On the Storycontinue to originate from Atlanta, using Studio 7, which was originally built for CNN proper.  “New Day Weekend” also continues to broadcast from a piecemeal, heavily modified set in the studio originally built for CNN Headline News.

HLN no longer offers live news coverage during key other dayparts, instead relying on taped programming, so its need for studio space in Atlanta or elsewhere is minimal. 

At one time, the building featured iterations of a sprawling working newsroom set used primarily for CNN (at one time it had day and night duratrans backgrounds of Atlanta on motorized tracks). 

The main newsroom set also featured an adjacent studio space that featured multiple sets over the years along with other studios.

Previously, the HLN moved CNN anchors Michaela Pereira and Carol Costello to Los Angeles to host daytime hours, while Ashleigh Banfield hosted to a crime centric show from New York. All three anchors were eventually let go, effectively eliminating HLN’s regular daily production from Los Angeles and New York. 

Atlanta does still house many back office operational workspaces and select studios for the networks, including CNN International. 

Meanwhile, network executives avoided confirming or denying if any layoffs are coming to Atlanta.

Like most major broadcasters, CNN purposefully maintains geographically disparate locations that can serve as backups or alternate broadcast facilities for each other in the event of an emergency or issue at one. 

CNN Center is a mixed use facility that includes a hotel, food court, offices and the adjoining State Farm Arena, home of the Atlanta Hawks. 

The network previously offered tours of the Atlanta facility, including a purpose built observation deck over the CNN newsroom, though these shut down due to the coronavirus pandemic. Over the years, the company has also operated gift shops and CNN themed photo spots in the complex. 

CNN also aired “Talkback Live” from the atrium of the building — a daily news shows that included audience participation. 

It’s not immediately clear if there are any potential buyers or if the CNN name will still remain on the building. 

WarnerMedia originally owned the space it used in both Time Warner Center and Hudson Yards, but later sold them both off with leaseback options.