Atlanta Falcons fans wait outside to enter the Georgia Dome. (Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
ATLANTA, GA-- As a key vote sailed through to approve construction of a new NFL stadium in downtown Atlanta, backers vocally endorsed the public-private partnership that would fund the billion dollar project. If built, backers want the Falcons to play their 2017 season in the yet-unnamed retractable roof stadium.
A public relations firm engineered an early-morning invitation-only briefing for Atlanta reporters, which laid out the case for funding the stadium with some $300 million in hotel/motel tax dollars. The remainder of the project would be paid for by the Atlanta Falcons.
"When the state can do a deal and get a billion dollar project seventy percent paid for by private funding, there's something to be said for that," said Falcons president Rich McKay.
The Georgia World Congress Center Authority unanimously accepted business terms for the new stadium, negotiated in recent months between the authority and the Falcons. The term sheet is viewable by clicking here.
The board approved it without discussion or public input.
Monday's vote will lead to another vote, likely in January, of a memorandum of understanding. That document is expected to include more specific cost numbers, and the new stadium's location. The parties are still weighing locations north and south of the current Georgia Dome, which would be demolished after a new stadium is built.
Under the agreement, the state would own the new stadium. But the Falcons would fund its operating expenses and earn money from concessions and parking, regardless of the event. The Falcons would pay an escalating annual rent starting at $2.5 million under a 30 year lease agreement.
1638 when the state can do a deal and get a billion dollar project 70 percent paid for by private funding, there's something to be said for that.