Georgia Aquarium to Be the World's Largest
Benefactor Bernie Marcus Announces Six Presenting Sponsors
Atlanta, GA (September 7, 2005) – Bernie Marcus, benefactor of the Georgia Aquarium, announced today that the Georgia Aquarium will open November 23, 2005, as the largest in the world. AMOUNT OF WATER AND NUMBER OF FISH "There are two things people measure an aquarium by - the amount of water and the number of fish," Marcus explained. He then announced the Aquarium's amount of water -- more than 8 million gallons -- and its number of fish --more than 100,000. "Our original water figures were low, and it wasn't until the measuring tapes came out and the water systems were filled that we understood just how enormous the numbers actually were," Marcus said. Six million of the more than eight million gallons are in the whale shark habitat, a single habitat built specifically to accommodate whale sharks, the largest fish in the world. At its longest, widest and deepest parts, the habitat measures 263' long x 126' wide x 33' deep. Marcus also confirmed the size of the facility at 550,000 total square feet, of which 505,000 is covered space. THE PRESENTING SPONSORS Marcus then announced "six great companies" that have signed advertising and marketing agreements to become presenting sponsors of the Georgia Aquarium: AirTran Airways, BellSouth, Georgia-Pacific, The Home Depot, Southern Company and SunTrust Banks. Marcus and the Georgia Aquarium leadership approached the largest corporate citizens in Atlanta, not only because "we knew they understood what a remarkable opportunity this would be, for downtown, for the city of Atlanta and for the state of Georgia," but because they "have the marketing savvy to understand that their participation would enable them to expose their brand and their products to the millions of people who visit the Aquarium each year," he added. "Our presenting sponsors are world-class companies with a number of similarities," Marcus said. "They are leading corporate citizens . they have strong leadership . they know the value of advertising and promotion . and they are successful financially." "Just as The Coca-Cola Company graciously donated the nine acres of land enabling us to begin the project, our presenting sponsors stepped up to the plate, said, `we want to be a part of this,' and offered their support," Marcus explained. "Billi and I will be eternally grateful to our sponsors, the aquarium staff, city and state leadership, and the guests who will begin visiting just eleven weeks from today for helping making our dream a reality." For additional information, contact: Donna Fleishman, 770-241-8252/404-720-8149 ABOUT THE GEORGIA AQUARIUM The Georgia Aquarium will open in Atlanta, Georgia on November 23, 2005, as one of the world's largest aquarium facilities. With more than 8 million gallons of marine and fresh water, and more than 100,000 animals of 500 different species, the Georgia Aquarium is a gift to the people of Georgia from Bernie Marcus, co-founder of The Home Depot, and his wife Billi, through the Marcus Foundation. The Aquarium will be overseen by a nonprofit corporation run by a board of directors. The mission of the Georgia Aquarium is to be an entertaining, educational and scientific institution featuring exhibitions and programs of the highest standards, offering engaging and entertaining visitors' experiences, and promoting the conservation of aquatic biodiversity throughout the world. Additional information on the Georgia Aquarium can be found at www.georgiaaquarium.org. ABOUT AIRTRAN AIRWAYS AirTran Airways, one of America's largest low-fare airlines with 6,700 friendly, professional Crew Members, operates over 500 daily flights to 49 destinations. The airline's hub is at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, where it is the second largest carrier. AirTran Airways recently added the fuel-efficient Boeing 737-700 aircraft to create America's youngest all-Boeing fleet. The airline is also the first carrier to install XM Satellite Radio on a commercial aircraft. For reservations or more information, visit www.airtran.com (America Online Keyword: AirTran). ABOUT BELLSOUTH BellSouth is a Fortune 100 company with annual revenues of over $20 billion. Our core business is wireline communications and our largest customer segment is the retail consumer. We have interests in wireless communications through our ownership of approximately 40% of Cingular Wireless (Cingular), the nation's largest wireless company based on number of customers. We also operate one of the largest directory advertising businesses in the United States. We have assets of approximately $60 billion and employ almost 63,000 individuals. We were incorporated and became a publicly traded company in December 1983 as a result of the breakup of the Bell System. We are incorporated under the laws of the State of Georgia. Visit www.bellsouth.com. ABOUT GEORGIA-PACIFIC Headquartered at Atlanta, Georgia-Pacific is one of the world's leading manufacturers and marketers of tissue, packaging, paper, building products and related chemicals. With 2004 annual sales of approximately $20 billion, the company employs 55,000 people at more than 300 locations in North America and Europe. Its familiar consumer tissue brands include Quilted Northernr, Angel Softr, Brawnyr, Sparkler, Soft 'n Gentler, Mardi Grasr, So-Drir and Vanity Fairr, as well as the Dixier brand of disposable cups, plates and cutlery. Georgia-Pacific's building products manufacturing business has long been among the nation's leading suppliers of building products to lumber and building materials dealers and large do-it-yourself warehouse retailers. For more information, visit www.gp.com. ABOUT THE HOME DEPOT Founded in 1978, The Home Depotr is the world's largest home improvement specialty retailer and the second largest retailer in the United States, with fiscal 2004 sales of $73.1 billion. The company employs approximately 325,000 associates and has 1943 stores in 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, 10 Canadian provinces and Mexico. The company has announced plans for retail expansion into China. The Home Depot has been recognized by Fortune as the No. 1 Most Admired Specialty Retailer for 2005. Its stock is traded on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE:HD) and is included in the Dow Jones industrial average and Standard & Poor's 500 index. Visit www.homedepot.com. ABOUT SOUTHERN COMPANY With more than 4 million customers and nearly 39,000 megawatts of generating capacity, Atlanta-based Southern Company (NYSE: SO) is the premier super-regional energy company in the Southeast and a leading U.S. producer of electricity. Southern Company owns electric utilities in four states, a growing competitive generation company, as well as fiber optics and wireless communications. Southern Company brands are known for excellent customer service, high reliability and retail electric prices that are 15 percent below the national average. Southern Company has been ranked the nation's top energy utility in the American Customer Satisfaction Index six years in a row. Southern Company has more than 500,000 shareholders, making its common stock one of the most widely held in the United States. Visit the Southern Company Web site at www.southerncompany.com. ABOUT SUNTRUST BANKS SunTrust Banks, Inc., headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, is one of the nation's largest commercial banking organizations. The company operates an extensive distribution network primarily in Florida, Georgia, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, and the District of Columbia, and also serves customers in selected markets nationally. Its primary businesses include deposit, credit, trust and investment services. Through various subsidiaries, the company provides credit cards, mortgage banking, insurance, brokerage, and capital markets services. SunTrust's Internet address is www.suntrust.com.