Earlier today, the Georgia World Congress Center Authority (GWCCA) Board of Governors authorized the GWCCA to execute a binding memorandum of understanding between the Falcons and the GWCCA for a new stadium on the Georgia World Congress Center campus. This authorization paves the way toward the opening of a new multi-purpose stadium in 2017.
"Today marks an important step towards a new stadium in downtown Atlanta," said Falcons Owner & Chairman Arthur M. Blank. "We are grateful for the GWCCA's partnership in negotiations over the past 2 ½ years, and we look forward to working with them, the Mayor's office, the Atlanta City Council and Invest Atlanta in moving this project forward.
"Many options were explored in arriving at a solution that serves the best interests of all involved. This agreement provides for an iconic asset to be added to the downtown Atlanta landscape with the only public funding coming from the same portion of the hotel-motel tax that was used to fund the Georgia Dome."
The Atlanta Falcons are stepping up with a private contribution that goes beyond other recent multi-purpose stadiums involving NFL teams:
- Approximately 80 percent of the cost of stadium construction will come from the Falcons and other private funds, versus 100% public funding for the Georgia Dome;
- The Falcons will take on the risk of construction cost overruns, as well as the risk of stadium operating, maintenance and capital expenditures costs. Any excess hotel-motel tax revenues after debt service requirements will be applied to partially offset operating and capital costs of the stadium. This potential offset is not guaranteed and is expected to be a fraction of the Falcons' total expenses of operating the building. This is the same method that has been employed at the Georgia Dome since 1992;
- The Falcons will fund infrastructure costs on the stadium construction site, as well as $50 million in potential infrastructure costs adjacent to the preferred site just south of the Georgia Dome and $20 million for necessary property acquisitions;
- The Falcons and the GWCCA have committed to implementing an equal business opportunity plan for participation in the design and construction of the new stadium, including a minimum goal of 31 percent minority and female business participation;
- The Falcons will work with the GWCCA and Invest Atlanta in developing a plan to mitigate potential negative effects of the development and construction of the new stadium on surrounding communities. This plan will address effects on businesses, traffic and neighboring properties, as well as the identification of opportunities to enhance the area surrounding the new stadium;
- The stadium design will be a collaborative process. A representative of Invest Atlanta will be given full opportunity to review and comment on the conceptual, schematic and construction document stages of the development of the new stadium, and the GWCCA will have approval rights over certain material design elements; and
- The Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation will commit at least $15 million to benefit Vine City, English Avenue, Castleberry Hill and other neighborhoods contiguous to the new stadium. The funds, which will be controlled by the Blank Foundation, are expected to be granted to transformational projects that result in lasting impact. Invest Atlanta will also commit $15 million from the Westside Tax Allocation District (the TAD) to co-investments in the targeted neighborhoods. It is anticipated that planned uses of TAD funds will leverage additional public and private funds.
"We recognize that the new stadium, by itself, will not transform the surrounding communities," Blank said. "We see the new stadium as not a total solution, but a catalyst to creating positive, long-term change for the residents of these communities, and we are prepared to continue to build upon our past investments in these neighborhoods."
Following today's approval by the GWCCA Board of Governors, next steps include consideration and approval by the Atlanta City Council and the Board of Directors of Invest Atlanta.
"We hope all of the work that has taken place over the last several years will aid the Atlanta City Council and Invest Atlanta in their deliberations leading up to the approvals that will be asked of them," Blank said. "We appreciate the spirit of collaboration demonstrated by city, state and community representatives in building a successful public-private partnership that will benefit the city, region and state for many years to come."