A report by architecture firm Populous scheduled to be released Tuesday determined that “building a new open-air stadium for the Atlanta Falcons on Georgia World Congress Center land is a feasible solution,” according to Maria Saporta of the ATLANTA BUSINESS CHRONICLE. The site is a 21-acre truck marshalling yard just north of the convention center. The area is “considered to be integral to the daily operations of the convention center,” but is appears to be the “only site owned by the GWCC that is large enough to accommodate” a new stadium. Populous and the GWCC determined that at least “part of the site could continue to serve as a truck marshalling yard, especially on non-game days.” The land would be “used for surface parking and tailgating” on game days. A new open-air stadium is “expected to cost at least $750 million, and that does not include money needed to maintain the operations of the Georgia Dome.” Falcons Owner Arthur Blank has indicated that the team “would make a substantial investment in the new facility.” The team, however, hopes “to strike a more lucrative agreement with a new stadium than its current agreement with the GWCC.” The Falcons are among the lowest NFL teams “in the amount of revenue it generates for the league.” The Falcons and the GWCC “would like to see construction on the new stadium begin in 2014 so it could open in time for the 2017 football season.” Meanwhile, Saporta reports because “several conventions and sporting events, such as the Southeastern Conference championships and the Chick-fil-A Bowl have said they would like to continue using the Georgia Dome, GWCC now is seriously considering the ‘two stadium solution’” (BIZJOURNALS.com, 2/18).
AEG Thursday submitted their "first formal proposal" for a downtown L.A. football stadium and events center to Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa's NFL Blue Ribbon Commission, "repeating their promise not to spend any tax dollars" on the $1B project, according to Vincent Bonsignore of the L.A. DAILY NEWS. Under the AEG plan, the West Hall of the L.A. Convention Center "would be razed to make room for a stadium with a retractable roof capable of seating 64,000-78,000 people." A new West Hall "would be built on a different section of Convention Center property, and the parking lot would be expanded." First Deputy Mayor Austin Beutner, who co-Chairs the 10-person commission, said that AEG and President & CEO Tim Leiweke "made a convincing first impression." But Bonsignore notes it is "only the first step in a process that could take months, the core issues being the $350 million bond needed to raze the West Hall," the "benefits to the city and AEG's pledge to foot the bill for the entire project." Beutner said Thursday, "(We have to look) at the financial viability of this project on a whole and the certainty of those guarantees and how valid they are. As of this sitting today, I can say Tim Leiweke and the Anschutz Group have been very clear in their views. But we need to do the homework and make sure that is the case" (L.A. DAILY NEWS, 2/18).
DEFENDING NEUTRALITY: In L.A., Patrick McDonnell reports Beutner Thursday "defended the makeup" of the commission, which is "tasked with examining the proposal despite some members' personal and professional links to" AEG. Beutner, a former Wall Street investment banker, said that he had known AEG Chair Philip Anschutz "for more than two decades and has long known" Leiweke. But he added, "Just because we know people in the community doesn't mean we're not going to do this right." Beutner said a new downtown football stadium could be "transformative" (L.A. TIMES, 2/18).