SBD/Issue 56/Facilities & Venues

GWCC Looking To Expand Georgia Dome, Surrounding Area

Georgia Dome Could Be Expanded, Moved
To Stay Competitive With Other Cities
Georgia World Congress Center (GWCC) officials are "looking at ways to expand" their campus, which encompasses the GWCC, the Georgia Dome and nearby Centennial Olympic Park, in order to "stay competitive with other cities that are building newer and larger football stadiums and convention centers," according to Leon Stafford of the ATLANTA CONSTITUTION. Any plans would "need approval from the GWCC Authority, the governing board," and GWCC COO Khalil Johnson "offered no pricetag for the ideas and said there is no timetable for when any, if accepted, would be implemented." But Stafford writes whatever is done will be a "necessary move," as the 16-year-old Georgia Dome is "older than 20" of the NFL's 31 stadiums. The NFL has "increasingly awarded Super Bowls to cities that have newer stadiums," and Falcons Owner Arthur Blank has said that he "wants a new stadium when the bonds issued to build the Dome are paid off, probably around 2015 to 2020." Meanwhile, HOK Sport said that it "saw ways for the facility to better use its footprint to attract business," and the company "laid out several alternative plans for the GWCC, which generally centered around expanding or moving the Dome and increasing the size of the convention center." One plan "calls for building new floors atop the Congress Center, making it a vertical as well as a horizontal giant." Stafford notes the Georgia Dome has "seen several renovations recently, including a new paint job." HOK Senior Principal Dennis Wellner said that building a new football stadium "would take four to five years" (ATLANTA CONSTITUTION, 12/4).

COSTLY UPGRADE: In Florida, David Hunt reports the Jaguars want the city of Jacksonville to spend $148M "renovating Jacksonville Municipal Stadium -- more than it cost to build 15 years ago." Senior VP/Stadium Operations & CFO Bill Prescott: "We really haven't had any firm, substantive conversations about it. It is something we really need to begin thinking about." Jacksonville Mayor John Peyton said that he has had "informal discussions with Jaguars owner Wayne Weaver about the stadium," and added that Weaver has been "reasonable about the city's budget concerns but would like to get moving on at least $100[M] of the projects." Peyton said that he is "unsure where the money would come from," as routine maintenance, which is "not part of the renovation proposals, is costing the city" $1-1.5M annually. HOK, which "helped design the stadium," issued a report detailing the renovations which has "sat virtually untouched since its February 2007 publishing" (FLORIDA TIMES UNION, 12/4).

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