SBD/April 11, 2014/Facilities

Falcons Stadium Project Likely To Get $30M From State For Land, Parking Deck

Falcons execs defend state contributions as crucial to the stadium project
Georgia state officials "are prepared to spend" more than $30M to buy land and build parking for the Falcons' new $1.2B stadium, despite "balking last year at state involvement in issuing construction bonds" for the project, according to Bluestein & Tucker of the ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION. Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal "is expected to approve a budget this month" that includes a $17M parking deck, a project "only made public days before the legislative session ended." Bluestein & Tucker Records cite records as showing that state officials "also could spend" $16.3M on land needed for the site, and a tax break on construction materials for the stadium "could cost tens of millions more." The disclosures "anger critics who have hammered at the 'hidden costs' of the stadium and blasted the use of public funds to help a wealthy owner" -- the Falcons' Arthur Blank -- "build a gleaming new facility." Public officials and Falcons execs "defend them as a crucial piece of enhancing the state-owned Georgia World Congress Center campus, where the new stadium will be built." The parking deck "will be used for other events, and the GWCC will share in parking revenue." Watchdog advocates said that the new details "show the state is trying to slide public spending for the stadium past the public" (ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION, 4/11). In Atlanta, Katie Leslie noted lawyers "spent nearly six hours Thursday arguing over the legality of the city of Atlanta's plan" to issue more than $200M in bonds for a new Falcons stadium, but there "was no immediate winner." Fulton County Superior Court Judge Ural Glanville "delayed ruling on the bond dispute until later this month at the earliest." City attorneys said that the project’s timeline "isn't yet in peril. Bond approvals "often pass with little notice, but a group of residents from Vine City and English Avenue filed a legal challenge in February against the plan" (ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION, 4/11).
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