Wed November 28, 2012
Falcons Stadium Deal Possible By Year's End
A deal for a new Atlanta Falcons stadium could be done by the end of the year. At least, that’s what a state agency hopes.
Sticking points between the Georgia World Congress Center and the Falcons remain. Meanwhile, open government advocates want more access.
“We feel like there has not been a lot of public input in the negotiating process,” said Common Cause Georgia executive director William Perry.
Jennifer LeMaster, director of communications for the Georgia World Congress Center Authority, says that’s not true.
“All of our board meetings are public and open to the general public as well as the media,” said LeMaster. “All of our committee meetings are open to the public as well as the media.”
LeMaster says the center has spent 2 years reaching out.
“One is actually going out and meeting with various groups, community organizers and other groups within the neighborhoods who have been affected by our existing footprint and would be affected by any development here,” said LeMaster.
The Dome touches Atlanta’s Vine City and English Avenue neighborhoods. LeMaster says residents there and the Authority have talked about how jobs, traffic, tailgating, parking and other related issues would impact the community. She says those talks are ongoing. So are negotiations with the Falcons.
“What we’re working on right now is the outline of a deal and trying to reach some consensus on what the basic tenants of the agreement will be,” said LeMaster.
Sticking points include figuring out who will pay and manage the new stadium’s capital improvement projects. What will happen to the Georgia Dome site after the facility’s torn down? And she says how much will the Falcons pay as part of a new lease?
“I don’t think any party is interested in seeing the Falcons being a free agent,” said LeMaster. “Our desire is to keep the Falcons in downtown Atlanta and to keep them on our property for as long as we can.”
LeMaster says the latest estimate puts total construction costs just under a billion dollars. Up to $350 million of that would come from hotel/motel tax revenue. She says the Falcons would pay for the rest as part of a 30 year deal.