SBD/February 14, 2013/Facilities

New Falcons Stadium Could Be Built In Atlanta Suburbs If Downtown Falls Through

McKay rejected the idea of making extensive repairs to the Georgia Dome
Falcons President & CEO Rich McKay said that the franchise will “consider moving to the suburbs" if the team does not get a new $1B downtown stadium built by the time the team's Georgia Dome lease expires in '17, according to a front-page piece by McWilliams, Stafford & Tucker of the ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION. McKay yesterday at a City Council meeting said that the team “would have no choice but to consider pursuing another option in metro Atlanta” if negotiations break down. McKay: “Please don’t let anybody say that’s a threat. No, that’s just a reality of what we have to do as our lease is about to end.” He added, “We could do it (build a new stadium) for a lot less cost (elsewhere). That would not be our first choice.” McKay “rejected the idea of making extensive repairs and renovations to the Georgia Dome.” Several local residents during a public comment period said that they “opposed any use of public money to build a new stadium.” Others “complained of what they called a lack of transparency.” The Falcons late last year reached a non-binding agreement with the Georgia World Congress Center Authority to "replace the team’s current home with a retractable roof stadium nearby.” But the proposal to use $300M in "state-issued bonds for the remaining portion ran into political trouble at the state Capitol.” Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed and the city in recent weeks have “taken a leading role in trying to keep the project on track and devise alternate financing.” McKay said that the Falcons have not yet "pursued any deals or sites in the suburbs,” and the team “won’t consider a move outside metro Atlanta.” McKay: “That’s not who Arthur Blank is. This will be a metro Atlanta stadium” (ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION, 2/14).
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