On Thursday, the Atlanta Falcons and the city of Atlanta agreed to basic terms on a deal that will finance the construction of a $1 billion stadium for the team. it's estimated that the new building, which will replace the Georgia Dome as the Falcons' home, will be ready for business in time for the 2017 season.
The Falcons and the city had been going over terms for years, but team owner Arthur Blank and Atlanta mayor Kasim Reed were finally able to announce the broad strokes.
“We appreciate the mayor and his staff’s diligence in moving the agreements for a new stadium toward completion,” Blank said in a statement. “We are grateful to the members of the Atlanta City Council who have given us the opportunity to address their questions or concerns, and we will continue to work with the mayor, city council, Invest Atlanta and our partners at the Georgia World Congress Center in reaching final agreements.”
As Blank's statement intimated, there are a few more steps along the way. Once the Falcons and the Georgia World Congress Center hammer out all the particulars, it must be approved by (deep breath) the Atlanta City Council, World Congress Center board, Invest Atlanta and the Fulton County Commission.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution detailed a few more parameters about the agreement.
Under terms to be announced this afternoon by Reed and Falcons owner Arthur Blank, the Falcons would assume responsibility for $50 million in infrastructure costs related to the stadium.
Also, the Arthur Blank Family Foundation would invest $15 million in projects aimed at boosting English Avenue, Vine City, Castleberry Hill and other neighborhoods close to the stadium.
In addition, Invest Atlanta, the city’s economic development agency, would commit another $15 million in tax allocation district dollars for economic development projects in the area.
According to the agreement so far, public financing of the stadium will cop at $200 million, which will come from hotel taxes in Atlanta and Fulton County. All other costs will be shouldered by the Falcons and "other sources."
"A new stadium will lead to the creation of well-paying jobs during its construction at a time when many of our friends and neighbors are seeking employment,” Mayor Reed said in his statement. “This new stadium will also keep the city of Atlanta at the forefront of the hospitality industry in America as we pursue our goal of attracting 40 million visitors annually. It will strengthen the viability of the more than 200,000 jobs that support our tourism and convention business every single day.”
Moreover, this would put Atlanta in the pole position for a Super Bowl in the near future. Locations for the next two big games have already been decided (the Meadowlands in Rutherford, N.J. for Super Bowl XLVIII, and University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Az. for Super Bowl XLIX). The location for Super Bowl L will be decided among several bidders at the owners' meetings in May, and the 2017 Super Bowl location may be decided then as well. If that's the case, Blank may have just bagged himself the first Super Bowl played in Atlanta since Super Bowl XXXIV on Jan. 30, 2000.