(Pictured above, l to r): GMA 3rd Vice President & Tifton Mayor Julie Smith, President & Dublin Mayor Phil Best, Past President & Newnan Mayor Keith Brady (Property Committee Chair), 1st Vice President & Union City Mayor Vince Williams, 2nd Vice President & LaGrange Mayor Jim Thornton, GMA Executive Director Larry Hanson
n Monday, Jan. 27, GMA held a groundbreaking ceremony for the association’s new headquarters project. GMA welcomed several prominent leaders to the ceremony, including former presidents and executive directors of the association, members of the project team and valued GMA staff.
The new GMA Headquarters, parking deck and renovation project will include four floors and 27,000 square feet of additional space, a five-level, 146-space parking deck that directly connects to three floors of the new building and a first-floor conference room large enough for GMA Board meetings and other functions for up to 140 people. The headquarters will also include a landscaped courtyard between the two buildings with direct access to the new conference room and a fourth-floor terrace facing the State Capitol that can accommodate up to 200 people for special events.
GMA’s current, 24,000-square-foot building (The Burgess Building) will also be renovated as a part of the history-making project.
GMA Building History
A permanent home for the Georgia Municipal Association (GMA) was a long-term goal of the Board of Directors and membership for many years. Following his appointment as GMA executive director in 1983, Jim Burgess set in place a process to make that goal a reality. At his recommendation, then President Bob Knox appointed a committee, chaired by Immediate Past President Lillian Webb, to oversee this effort. Following an examination of available sites within a three-block radius of the State Capitol, the committee concluded that a dilapidated 13,500 square foot warehouse building built in 1905 and an adjacent parking lot would be the best location for the new headquarters.
The property was purchased in 1984 for $627,000, and following renovations, the building was occupied in September 1986. Construction of a 12,000-square-foot addition was completed along with the purchase of an additional parking lot in 1988.
In 2004, following the first major renovation of the building and parking lot since its acquisition and expansion, the Board voted to name the GMA building “The Burgess Building” as a tribute to Jim Burgess’ vision and perseverance.
GMA leaders recognized the need for additional office space and parking during the past decade, and during Mayor Keith Brady’s term as president, a Property Committee was formed. In recent years, under the leadership of former presidents Mayor Dorothy Hubbard and Mayor Linda Blechinger and guided by the diligent efforts of the Property Committee chaired by Mayor Brady, plans to move forward with a new building gained momentum. Based on a space study performed by the Association’s program manager, Comprehensive Program Services, and extensive input from the association’s staff, in January 2019 the GMA Board approved the concept of constructing a new building and parking deck on the current site.
As a result of the collaborative efforts of the project team and GMA, a plan was developed and today history is being made with the groundbreaking of GMA’s new headquarters building. Construction of the new building and parking deck is scheduled to be completed in December 2020. Renovation of GMA’s existing building will begin in January 2021 and be completed in early summer.
Mayor Keith Brady, Newnan; Chair, Property Committee
Mayor Phil Best, Dublin; President
Mayor Vince Williams, Union City; First Vice President
Mayor Jim Thornton, LaGrange; Second Vice President
Mayor Julie Smith, Tifton; Third Vice President
Mayor Linda Blechinger, Auburn; Immediate Past President
Mayor Boyd Austin, Dallas; Past President
Mayor Sam Norton, Dahlonega
Mayor Joe Walter, Zebulon
Comprehensive Program Services
Stevens & Wilkinson
Construction Manager At-Risk
Truist (SunTrust Bank)