Iconic sign removed from front of old CNN Center

ATLANTA — They are iconic of downtown Atlanta and now a piece of the city’s history is being taken down. The massive CNN letters outside the former CNN Center have been removed.

You’d be hard-pressed on any given day to walk by and not see people taking their photo next to the massive letters. They have become a standard piece of downtown Atlanta as much as State Farm Arena, Mercedes-Benz Stadium and Centennial Olympic Park.

A Channel 2 Action News camera caught crews moving the iconic sign Monday that has stood outside the CNN Center along Centennial Olympic Park Drive since Ted Turner moved the 24-hour news operation there in 1987.

[PHOTOS: Iconic CNN sign removed from CNN Center]

Our cameras were there as construction crews lifted the sign with a crane and placed it onto a large flatbed.

The CNN Center itself is one of the most recognizable in the downtown Atlanta skyline.

WarnerMedia announced in June 2020 that it was selling the CNN Center, and since then parts of the network’s operations have been moving over its Techwood Campus near Georgia Tech in midtown.

“We recognize the historical relevance of the CNN Center. Ted Turner was a true pioneer who reinvented media when he launched the 24-hour news channel in 1980. WarnerMedia was proud to play a part in solidifying Ted’s legacy last December with the dedication of our Techwood campus to him, the unveiling of a commissioned mural portrait on our campus and a donation to the University of Georgia, in partnership with the Turner Family and Turner Enterprises, that established the Ted Turner Exhibition Hall & Gallery at UGA’s library, the Ted Turner Scholarship Fund and the Ted Turner Maverick internship,” WarnerMedia told employees in a memo about the CNN Center being sold.


The building itself was finished in 1976 as part of the Omni Sports Complex. The Omni Hotel was originally part of the complex, with a retail mall and ice skating rink in the middle. For those looking for a deeper history, it also was the site of “The World of Sid and Marty Krofft” theme park reachable by a giant escalator.

The theme park did not last long, closing after only six months.

The hotel remained for several years until it expanded, occupying a building next door to the center.

WarnerMedia said at the time, as part of the deal, they will lease back CNN Center for a number of years.

WarnerMedia sold the CNN Center to Florida-based CP Group. Formerly known as Crockett Partners, the CP Group is the second-largest office owner in metro Atlanta.

“The CNN Center is one of Atlanta’s most iconic landmarks and we look forward to embracing the opportunity to strategically transform the asset and build off the city’s current momentum,” said Chris Eachus, partner at CP Group.

In 2022, developers broke ground on Centennial Yards, a $5 billion development that will feature hotels, shopping, dining and residential living. It sits right across the street from the CNN Center in what used to be “The Gulch.”

Brian McGowan, president and CEO of Centennial Yards, said by 2026, thousands of people will be living downtown as Atlanta plays host to several of the World Cup games.

It is unclear how much of the former CNN Center will play into that redevelopment.

CNN confirmed to Channel 2 Action News that the CNN sign will be installed at the Ted Turner Campus at Techwood at a later date. In the meantime, the sign will undergo refurbishment for a few weeks.