New Stadium Is a Win-Win for Atlanta
Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank’s proposal can benefit both the team and city residents.
The Atlanta Falcons are hoping to get a new roof over their helmets in time for the 2017 season. Just last month the Georgia World Congress Center Authority (GWCCA) Board of Governors authorized the execution of a “binding memorandum of understanding” between the Falcons and the GWCCA for a shiny new stadium. The endorsement green-lights the opening of a new multipurpose stadium located on the Georgia World Congress Center campus.
“Many options were explored in arriving at a solution that serves the best interests of all involved,” said Falcons owner and chairman Arthur M. Blank. “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.”
Unlike the construction of the Georgia Dome, which was 100 percent publicly funded, planners estimate that approximately 80 percent of the new stadium construction’s tab will be footed by the Falcons and other private investors.
In an effort to lessen the potential for negative effects that such an undertaking can have on a community, the Falcons, with the GWCCA and Invest Atlanta, are anticipating the needs of the area’s residents. The proposal 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 Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation has pledged $15 million to Vine City, English Avenue, Castleberry Hill and other neighborhoods contiguous to the new stadium. The funds, controlled by the Blank Foundation, are earmarked for transformational projects for an overall lasting impact.
"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."
A complete outline of the plan can be found on the Georgia World Congress Center Authority’s website.