Appearing together at a joint press conference, Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed and Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank announced that the Falcons and the City of Atlanta have reached an agreement to bring a new stadium to downtown Atlanta.
Gov. Nathan Deal was also in attendance, as were members of the Atlanta City Council.
"I am very encouraged that the message given to the mayor and the Falcons has been heard,” said City Council President Ceasar C. Mitchell.
The deal is not official yet as it must still be agreed to by the Falcons and the Georgia World Congress Center Authority. Certain aspects of a deal will also need to be approved by the Atlanta City Council, GWCCA board, Invest Atlanta and the Fulton County Commission. Mitchell was quick to note that no legislation had yet been voted on or drafted by the Council.
The deal as currently structured would have the Falcons 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.
“We appreciate the mayor and his staff’s diligence in moving the agreements for a new stadium toward completion,” Blank said in a statement today. “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.”
The public contribution for stadium construction will be capped at $200 million, according to the mayor, which would come from the hotel-motel tax collection by the city of Atlanta and unincorporated Fulton County.
Invest Atlanta would be asked to issue the bonds using the hotel-motel tax that currently supports the Georgia Dome. The city’s economic development arm became involved after state political leaders balked at issuing construction bonds through the state.
The rest of the cost of the $1 billion facility would come from the Falcons and other sources.
Reed said during the conference that “85 percent” of the $200 million that the city is contributing will come from people who do not live in Atlanta or Georgia.
The mayor said in a statement that he was most pleased that the Falcons will get to remain downtown, and that neighborhoods would be revitalized in the process.
“Equally important, 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,” Reed said in a 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.”
The terms to be announced today also call for an equal opportunity plan that will ensure at least 31 percent participation in design and construction by women and minority business enterprises.
The mayor's office was quick to note that the $200 million public contribution from hotel-motel tax revenue has been specifically dedicated by the Georgia General Assembly for the Georgia Dome or a successor stadium on the Georgia World Congress Center campus and cannot be used for other purposes, such as for Atlanta Public Schools, infrastructure needs or transportation improvements.