WarnerMedia to Sell Atlanta’s CNN Center, Sidesteps Threat of Impending Layoffs

“Some employees moving from CNN Center will be relocated to our Techwood campus in Midtown Atlanta,” says company

CNN Center in Atlanta
The CNN Center in Atlanta, Georgia. (Kevin C. Cox / Getty Images)

WarnerMedia leadership told staffers Monday that the CNN Center in Atlanta will be sold, downplaying questions about whether the move signals impending layoffs.

Answering questions on an internal FAQ-style information sheet, WarnerMedia leadership explained why the iconic location in Georgia is being sold, but maintained that WarnerMedia will not be leaving Atlanta altogether: “Our strategy is to consolidate our teams in state-of-the-art hubs to maximize collaboration. This is a strategy we are also implementing at our other primary business locations, most recently at Hudson Yards in New York City and our Ivy Station project [in Culver City, California], currently in development. We believe this creates a more collaborative working environment for our employees.”

“During the pandemic, we have learned a lot about working remotely and we will be looking at space solutions that are more agile for the appropriate teams,” the internal document went on. “Over time, some employees moving from CNN Center will be relocated to our Techwood campus in Midtown Atlanta or our building on Williams Street, near Techwood. We recently undertook extensive renovations to our campus to better foster a culture of innovation, creativity and collaboration, and will continue to invest in Techwood.”

One of the questions leadership responded to was whether the sale signifies impending layoffs.

“While we continue to transform our organization, one of our stated goals was to find efficiencies in how our companies work together to ensure we can focus our investments and optimize our resources. WarnerMedia has a large employee base in Atlanta, and we invest millions to keep and attract talented employees here,” said the document.

In a separate internal note to WarnerMedia staff, chief financial officer Pascal Desroches wrote that the company is still committed to Atlanta.

Further, he wrote, “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.”

After a WarnerMedia email told staff that a “very small group” of employees are returning to offices this week, CNN president Jeff Zucker stressed to his company in an email Monday that the move won’t have a major effect on the network’s operations and that cleared, critical workers are still the only ones allowed in the offices. Most CNN employees are not expected to return to their offices until 2021.