Atlanta Retractable Roof Stadium To Replace Georgia Dome In 2017

The Georgia Dome will be replaced by 2017.

On Monday morning, officials with the Georgia World Congress Center Authority (GWCCA) will meet to discuss a term sheet that will lead to the eventual demolition and replacement of the 20-year-old Georgia Dome. (To put that in perspective, the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum Football Stadium is 46-years-old and was upgraded for the return of the Raiders to Oakland in 1995, three years after the Georgia Dome was finished and opened.)

According to Channel 2 News here, board will meet to review a 24-page document that’s called “non-binding” but has the following elements: the State of Georgia would own it, the tenant would be The Atlanta Falcons, and the financing plan would consist of public tax revenues, Falcons contributions, and possibly personal seat licenses (although this blogger would think that stadium naming rights have to be part of the deal, too – or should be).

That the stadium is going to have a retractable roof is a huge but smart change to what the Atlanta Falcons said they wanted in 2011: an open-air-stadium. While a retractable roof stadium is more expensive, it also allows for a larger number of events, from giant concerts to basketball games, over the course of a year – all of which translates to more revenue.

(And as a note, the only easily findable proposed “roof” design for the Atlanta Falcons new stadium, was issued by an Atlanta-based design firm called CLOUD. That’s presented here.)

As of this writing, the cost of the stadium will be north of $1 billion.

The cost of the stadium is controversial, only from the perspective of who will pay for it. In August, when NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell joined Atlanta Falcons President Rick McKay, Atlanta Mayor Kaseem Reed, and Atlanta Falcons Owner Arthur Blank in a meeting with Governor Nathan Deal to present the plan for a new stadium, as it stood then. After the meetings, Mayor Reed threw a public relations grenade that exploded in the face of the others who attended the meeting, staying that he had an issue with financing a complex to benefit “millionaires and billionaires.” Here’s what he said:

This blogger has to weigh in on that. First, the alternative to some public involvement is a private sector complex such that the public would not be able to benefit from any of the revenue generated from it.

Then, it would be “millionaires and billionaires” building something that caused many people to put money in the hands of a few, with no control at all. Kind of like Dragon-Con, where many people pay tickets to go to it, where some of that revenue winds up in the hands of an alleged pedophile, and where the City Of Atlanta fails to monitor the activities of the event, because it has no official say over what happens.

But Mayor Reed is reflecting the view of some who have expressed reservations, as in the case of this public forum held November 26th (warning, the video is one hour, 20 minutes long, and the audio quality is not the best – I didn’t make it):

The Full Atlanta Stadium Term Sheet Is Below

This blogger managed to find an online PDF of the Stadium Term Sheet that was not easy to locate, but on the Georgia World Congress Center website, and made it easy to access for all. The result is this Scribd document below. Here are the highlights of the 24-page file:

• Stadium to be completed by 2017
• Georgia Dome will remain, not be demolished, until new stadium is opened.
• Hotel tax revenue specifically mentioned as one fiscal source.
• There are two possible sites next to The Georgia Dome.
• State Of Georgia not on hook for money; Georgia World Congress Center Authority is. (As a note, that’s different from the Oakland Raiders deal, where the City of Oakland and the County Of Alameda were the payees of bonds, and not the Oakland Alameda County Coliseum Complex. The basic reason for this is structural: the GWCCA operates several revenue-generating buildings, whereas the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum JPA was formed just for the Raiders stadium and Warriors Arena projects. Thus, the GWCCA has a much larger operating revenue base.)
• The GWCCA must provide evidence of fiscal ability to “finance contributions” to the Atlanta Falcons. If that’s not in place, the Falcons can back out of the deal.
• The Falcons can’t mortgage its responsibilities for financial purposes.
• The Atlanta Falcons must sign a non-relocation agreement.
• Atlanta Falcons control all sponsorship and advertising agreements for the new stadium.
• Event booking will be handled by the GWCCA.
• Stadium to be designed for, and the Falcons would have control over, a Major League Soccer team.

With that, here’s the term sheet, in full:

Atlanta New Stadium Project Term Sheet

And you can read the original 134-page Stadium Master Plan below, but keep in mind that plan called for an open-air stadium to be built just north of The Georgia Dome. The addition of a retractable roof does change the stadium’s configuration: it will be larger. It has to be to accomodate the structure needed to hold the giant mechanism that causes the roof to slide back and forth on command.

Here’s that plan:

Master Plan Phase III – Atlanta Georgia Open Air NFL Stadium

Stay tuned.

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