What is the goal of the new stadium?
This new stadium project takes into consideration the best interests not only of the Falcons, but of the Georgia World Congress Center Authority (GWCCA) and its other customers, the city of Atlanta and the state of Georgia.
The primary goals are to create a long-term stadium solution that allows the Georgia World Congress Center to remain competitive in retaining and attracting premier events to its campus; to address a long-term solution to the approaching expiration of the Falcons’ lease at the Georgia Dome; and to continue a partnership with both parties far into the future.
Why does Atlanta need a new stadium?
Competition for major sporting and other entertainment events is increasing as other markets build new stadiums. A new stadium in Atlanta will help ensure we’re able to retain major events currently held at the Georgia Dome, as well as attract new marquee events to the city and state.
In the Falcons’ case, the club’s lease at the Georgia Dome expires in 2020 or when the bonds financing the facility are paid off. That could happen as early as 2017. Once the bonds are paid off, the Falcons are freed of their obligations at the Georgia Dome. A new stadium puts in place a long-term solution for the club.
It doesn’t make sense to enter into a lease extension at the Dome without facing major renovations and maintenance expenses in the future. In fact, a study commissioned by the Georgia World Congress Center Authority estimated that renovation costs to bring the Dome to current NFL standards and to continue to meet the needs of the Georgia World Congress Center would be $859 million, which is not a compelling difference versus the cost of building a new facility.
How much will it cost to build a new stadium?
Preliminary estimates place the cost at approximately $950 million dollars for stadium construction. The final cost is dependent on the stadium location and design agreed to by the Falcons and Authority.
Where will the new stadium be located?
Why should tax dollars contribute to this project?
Public-private partnerships are not unfamiliar concepts to the people of Georgia. It’s how Turner Field was built and how Philips Arena was built.
The hotel-motel tax, which will contribute to the construction of the new stadium, was created for the purpose of supporting economic development in Atlanta. The same portion of this tax (39%) funded the bonds that built the Georgia Dome. The remainder of the tax revenue funds other economic development projects in the region.
The hotel-motel tax is paid largely by visitors, not local residents. So unless you stay in a hotel in the city of Atlanta or certain other parts of Fulton County, you will pay nothing in taxes to build the new stadium. Approximately 86% of hotel guests in Atlanta travel from out of the state.
Further, the hotel-motel tax was designed as a continuous loop process that seeks to fuel – and refuel – tourism and other economic development in our city/county. The other recipients of this tax are the City of Atlanta (29%), the Atlanta Convention & Visitors Bureau (22%) and the GWCCA (10%).
The Georgia Dome was built in 1992 with 100 percent public money. In this case, the hotel-motel tax revenue is estimated to cover about 20% of the new stadium project construction cost. The remaining 80% or so of the cost will be paid by private funding. In addition, the Falcons will take on any construction overrun, operating and capital risks, which were or are currently borne by the Georgia World Congress Center for the Georgia Dome. The private funding for this project goes beyond most other projects of this kind.
Finally, a new stadium will provide positive economic benefits to the state. The construction of the new stadium is expected to generate more than $400 million in total statewide economic impact, including more than $160 million in personal income.
How will a new stadium impact ticket prices? Will you also implement a PSL program?
Ticket pricing will be determined based on a number of factors – the design of the new stadium, demand and market prices among them. It is too early to be able to predict ticket prices for the new stadium. That being said, the Falcons’ goal is to ensure that the community at large can continue to engage in the Falcons experience, and we are keenly aware that this requires affordable access. So we anticipate we will be creative and innovative with our ticketing structure moving forward.
The sale of PSLs is a common source of financing for modern-day stadiums. Prices range broadly depending largely on demand and the market in which they’re sold. As with ticket pricing, our approach to PSL pricing will be fair and inclusive. We anticipate total PSL sales to be below that of recent new stadiums, but we cannot determine pricing until we know more about the stadium design.
When will we see a design for the new stadium?
The initial concept is expected to be completed in June. More detailed schematic drawings will be completed by the end of October, and the final design will be completed in April 2014.
What are the plans for the neighborhoods surrounding the new stadium; how will they benefit from this project?
Mr. Blank, through his family foundation and the Atlanta Falcons Youth Foundation, has a long history of investing in projects that help those in need in the Atlanta area, including in the Vine City/English Avenue neighborhoods. There are a host of needs in the neighborhoods surrounding the GWCC, and having a long-term, sustainable and positive impact in these communities will require vision and collaboration. The Falcons have publicly committed to making significant investments in these communities as a result of a new stadium.
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. These funds 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 areas. It is anticipated that planned uses of TAD funds will leverage additional public and private funds.
For more information, visit the Community page of this website.
What project and job opportunities will be offered to local businesses and residents, specifically regarding minority hiring?
The Falcons recognize how important it is that the new stadium project is inclusive in all areas. In a Memorandum of Understanding completed on April 5, 2013, between the Atlanta Falcons Stadium Company (StadCo), Georgia World Congress Center Authority and Invest Atlanta, StadCo committed to the development of an Equal Business Opportunity plan for enlisting and monitoring participation of minority and female business enterprises as part of the design and construction of the new stadium. On May 24, 2013, the Falcons announced the completion of an Equal Business Opportunity Plan (EBO Plan), formalizing the commitments made in the Memorandum of Understanding.
The EBO Plan details policies and procedures for achieving a minimum goal of 31 percent participation by minority and female business enterprises (M/FBEs) in the design and construction of the new stadium. The plan also contains requirements for reporting and monitoring participation, and describes the assistance that Invest Atlanta and the Georgia World Congress Center Authority will provide in meeting the participation goal.
In order to be counted towards the 31 percent participation goal, each M/FBE must be considered a “Georgia Certified Contractor or Vendor,” requiring certification in the City of Atlanta’s Equal Business Opportunity Program as a Female Business Enterprise (FBE), an African American Business Enterprise (AABE), an Asian (Pacific Islander) American Business Enterprise (APABE), or a Hispanic American Business Enterprise (HABE).
M/FBEs seeking additional information regarding the City of Atlanta certification process may access the City of Atlanta’s Office of Contract Compliance web site.