Non-binding terms approved for new Falcons stadium deal

The Georgia World Congress Center Authority board Monday morning unanimously approved terms that are intended to provide the framework for a deal on a new downtown stadium for the Atlanta Falcons.

The board, at a special called meeting, OK’d a 24-page non-binding term sheet that will be the basis for further negotiations toward a more definitive, binding agreement between the GWCCA and the Falcons.

Should taxpayers help pay for a new stadium for the Atlanta Falcons?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...

The plan is to build a retractable-roof stadium, with a potential cost of around $1 billion, on the GWCCA campus in time for the 2017 NFL season.

Key business terms approved by the board include:

  • The GWCCA, a state agency, would own the stadium.
  • The Falcons would operate the stadium under a 30-year license agreement, with options to renew for an additional 15 years.
  • A portion of the construction cost would be funded by revenue from the hotel-motel tax in the city of Atlanta and Fulton County; that portion has been estimated at around $300 million. The rest, including any cost overruns, would be the Falcons’ responsibility, although that could be offset by the sale of personal seat licenses.
  • The Falcons would pay annual rent of $2.5 million, increasing 2 percent per year, to the GWCCA.
  • The Falcons would be responsible for all of the stadium’s operating expenses and would retain all revenue.
  • The Georgia Dome would be demolished, and many events held there would move to the new stadium.
  • The new stadium would be built on the GWCCA campus, with the final selection from two sites – one just south of the Dome and the other a half-mile north of the Dome – deferred until the negotiation of a more definitive memorandum of understanding early next year.

Next step: issuing a request for qualifications (RFQ) to begin the process of hiring a lead architectural firm to design the stadium.

Check back later today for further updates.

- Tim Tucker of the AJC staff

342 comments Add your comment

MoFaux

December 10th, 2012
10:43 am

All I’m Saying says: “Get with the program people! Facts are our friends and here are the facts:”
Indeed, you are correct.
“1)The Georgia Dome is not ‘old’ but it is out-of-date.”
And your point is? If Home Depot wants to update their store location, they don’t ask for tax payers to finance it.
“2) A retractable roof stadium with dozens of corporate suites and all the latest in high tech features is what’s needed for the next 20-30 years if you want to remain a player in the NFL, host other major sporting events (Super Bowl, Chik-Fil-A Bowl, NCAA College Basketball Final Four, College Football Season Opening Games, etc.) and support all types of convention events.”
Who said Atlanta needs any of that? We get plenty of conventions as things are now and this is definitely NOT a fact, but rather your opinion. A new Dome is not necessary to attract conventions. $300 million (plus, don’t forget the cost of the current Dome demolition, which they have not added into this price I believe).
“3) The City of Atlanta hotel/motel tax falls squarely 99% of the time on tourists and visitors – not resident.”
This is your argument? So, who cares if our infrastructure is crumbling apart and we can’t give teachers a pay raise in 5+ years? This is a TERRIBLE time to spend on such an extravagant purpose.
“4) Spending the hotel/motel tax on “something else” was never going to happen and ripe with political problems with the only other option for the tourist tax being eliminating it which makes no fiscal sense.”
Never going to happen? Another superb argument for flushing $300 million down the toilet. So, we either spend this money on a new stadium, or get rid of the tax? Seriously? So, basically, you think our leaders are completely stupid and can’t find a way to spend $300 million on something that would actually benefit the entire city and/or state. Finally, something we can agree on!
“This is the best outcome if you want to keep your NFL franchise and want to keep the Georgia World Congress Center competitive in the convention hosting business.”
Nice fear-mongering there. Atlanta’s convention hosting has ZERO to do with whether or not we have expensive box seating and/or a retractable dome. If the Falcons move elsewhere because we don’t want to pony up the cash in such a poor economy…then good riddance. Let some other city/state have them. Life will go on.

markie mark

December 10th, 2012
10:44 am

Horrible decision – the cost overruns will kill the taxpayer….and seat licensing? its becoming a rich mans game….

2 live stews

December 10th, 2012
10:44 am

only black should be allowed in the stadium. be sure to serve lots of free water and meat loaf.

Esquire is in the HOUSE

December 10th, 2012
10:48 am

Aquagirl
December 10th, 2012
10:31 am

If you think hotel/motel taxes produce magic money from nowhere you’re probably sitting on a rent-to-own couch.

**************************************

But I only have 2 more payments.

VictoriousOne

December 10th, 2012
10:50 am

Bend Over, Falcons fans…Now you see what pawns you are in the financial chess game of the NFL. I could understand building something new if the goal was to relocate to a more “attractive” area of town for the snooty suburbanites or to replace a dilapidated old relic of a stadium that was falling down, but to build a new building next door to the current building so the team can make more money? It’s unnecessary and financially irresponsible – for everybody but Arthur…

NotYourTypicalAtlantan

December 10th, 2012
10:51 am

When will this be on a ballot so we that are in opposition can TSplost this foolishness?
Im not leaving Cobb County to go down there to be harassed by Park Atlanta, rookie Atlanta police officers, vagrants begging for money, and traffic congestion when I can continue to have the best seat in the house to watch Falcons’ games played at the current dome……………In front of the TV!
There is absolutely nothing wrong with the current dome……..This is a Billion Dollar want not a need-

Pamela

December 10th, 2012
10:52 am

No taxpayers should not pay for this. If that Arthur Blank want a new stadium then he should pay for it. NOT tax payers.

SirReal

December 10th, 2012
10:53 am

I hate this with a passion….especially when there are SOOO many GLARING deficiencies in the City of Atlanta. I get it know. Build a team that can only win in the regular season that way at least the home games can be exciting and he can have a freakin windfall for at least 8 weeks. Ive been a fan for 25 years and honestly this is NOT a championship caliber ball club and it certainly doesnt warrant a new playground. Rise up? I sure will be rising up out of Birdland very soon. I’m just very discouraged guys. Sorry to be the sourpuss.

Dan Reeves

December 10th, 2012
10:56 am

Good luck with your new tent!

snailboy

December 10th, 2012
10:59 am

Falcons need to win a post game and a couple of superbowls then get a new stadium. What a waste of money.

ignition

December 10th, 2012
10:59 am

@what a waste – can you please prove that stat to me that you threw out there.

Esquire is in the HOUSE

December 10th, 2012
11:00 am

Complete waste of cash
December 10th, 2012
10:41 am

See the Green Bay game last night? Snow, wind, ice – NO ROOF!!! Seventy degrees outside and the Falcons need a dome? A complete waste of cash.

****************************************

Didn’t you know those cheese heads come with high tech body heat accelerators???? They run on cold fusion.

IMO football was meant to be played in the elements. The roofs are about fan comfort and event dollars.

26belly

December 10th, 2012
11:00 am

Where are our elected state Senators, Representatives and our Governor while this blatant violation of the public trust and mismanagement of a state agency is occurring? What’s more important the “greater good” of the metro area (suburban/urban mass transit) or a duplicative deal (Falcon’s still DO NOT OWN the proposed stadium!) which is dependent upon tax revenue from hotel & motel taxes. The AJC just ran a piece on the sentiments of metropolitan citizens and their distrust of our elected officials to act responsibly on our behalf…Government is not a turn-key operation and it requires work from the public (citizens) to work efficiently and effectively!

Wutehvah

December 10th, 2012
11:00 am

VictoriousOne has it right… The average fan will pay the price and will continued to get priced-out of attending Falcon games. It’s a joke.

Hilllard Crump

December 10th, 2012
11:01 am

typical jew owner… trying to get every penny he can.

Lynn

December 10th, 2012
11:05 am

20 years and NOW the stadium is obsolete? C’mon man!!! I don’t hear any flack concerning The Superdome, or for that manner Lambeau Field!!!

Growler

December 10th, 2012
11:05 am

Here’s a little cautionary take for you about PSL’s:
I have family up in NYC that were Jets season-ticket holders for 30+ years. When the new stadium and the PSL’s came-a-calling — at $15,000 per seat before the actual cost of the 10 home games — they bailed. Now remember: this was a team that, despite its mediocre results, had a long waiting list for season tickets for years! Now, all of a sudden, Jets sales reps. are calling, offering to trade locations (for lesser priced PSL’s) and other incentives to sell the PSL’s.
What’s happening now after two straight sub-par seasons?
At this point, you can go to a number of websites and check ticket prices for the remaining home game against the Chargers. I saw upper deck tickets for as low as $23! That stadium will be half-empty in two weeks.
Unless the Falcons perform at an insanely high level for years, their new stadium is going to be a mausoleum.
I’d say to anyone who favors this: be careful what you ask for…

DP

December 10th, 2012
11:07 am

The good news is that when the Falcons get whipped in the first round of the playoffs again instead of being disappointed I’ll be laughing at them.

Esquire is in the HOUSE

December 10th, 2012
11:07 am

2 live stews
December 10th, 2012
10:44 am

only black should be allowed in the stadium. be sure to serve lots of free water and meat loaf.

***********************************
Certainly you meant black as in jersey color or as in “black ink”…..

Horrible location

December 10th, 2012
11:08 am

Ive been a season ticket holder for 10 years but have been attending fewer and fewer games every year due to the challenges of getting to the GA Dome. It’s in an area that can’t be easily accessed from interstates. When game ends, police route you 5 miles through parts of town you hope to never see again when you could have gotten to the interstate quicker had police allowed you to go a different way. From Dunwoody, it often takes me 1.5-2 hours to get down there(particularly for night games) and the same or longer to get home. The 1st consideration for any new stadium should be a better location – downtown or not- that is easier to get to. This city proved it’s incompetence with the location and handling of the Turner field and should not be relied upon with key decisions around the new Falcons stadium.

STACE

December 10th, 2012
11:08 am

Here lies the problem. What part of the constitution allows for our tax money to be taken for sporting events? Come on people, why do you think we are in this shape. Spend, spend, spend. Tax tax tax. Taxes are to be taken for ROADS, BRIDGES, SECURITY, SCHOOLS. Not to support the billionaire and his million dollar players. What a waist of tax money.

ignition

December 10th, 2012
11:10 am

Welcome to Atlanta, where we’ll do anything to attempt to look good, despite the reality of the major problems that need to be addressed across the city.
OK build a new stadium but the Falcons should also have to pay for major reconstruction around the area, new parks, greenspace walk ways, and make it attractive for new investments around the area as well as linking it to current business districts in the Lucky St. District and around Castleberry.

Atlbirdawg

December 10th, 2012
11:10 am

The city of Atlanta and the GAWCC want to retain ownership of the stadium, it allows for a significant revenue stream for the city. Blank is able, and I would bet willing, to pay to build a new stadium independent of the city in the long run he will make more money this way. GWCC wants to keep events like the Chic-fil-a Bowl, SEC championship, Kickoff Classic, Final 4’s, countless concerts, and special events and the revenue that comes with them. Not to mention if Blank were to finance it himself with the help of the NFL he’s likely to move it away from downtown. This is more lost revenue for the area. This is hardly a boondogle its the city’s attempt at retaining a significant source of income.

Bravesfan77

December 10th, 2012
11:10 am

Tax money used once again for a private person to have his private football team supplied. If he wants a new stadium them let him build it. He has the money. Tax money should not fund private industry period!

909

December 10th, 2012
11:11 am

Final Score:

Arthur Blank: $1 Billion

Elementary-Middle-High Schools students in Georgia: ZERO

In other words………..

The 1%: $1 Billion
The 99%: ZERO

Esquire is in the HOUSE

December 10th, 2012
11:11 am

Wutehvah
December 10th, 2012
11:00 am

VictoriousOne has it right… The average fan will pay the price and will continued to get priced-out of attending Falcon games. It’s a joke.

*******************************************

Remember the days of all the blacked out Falcons games…………………..get ready.

Native Atlantan

December 10th, 2012
11:12 am

Why take down the dome? I’ve always liked the idea of having both the ACC and SEC football championship games in Atlanta. The ACC would love to have their game here, and the two facilities would give them that opportunity.

What will happen to the space where is the dome is located right now?

TBone

December 10th, 2012
11:12 am

This thing is gonna happen come hell or high water. Show me a politician who does not get orgasmic over spending other people’s money and I’ll show you a fish riding a bicycle.

ignition

December 10th, 2012
11:13 am

@Horrible location It’s called MARTA. it’s smarter..
I actually never had an issue with parking because I know the area.

Wutehvah

December 10th, 2012
11:14 am

@Esquire is in the HOUSE…

You got it… Sad but true…

DP

December 10th, 2012
11:17 am

For those interested in how business, the mega wealthy and their bought and paid for politicians pig out on corporate welfare, here’s a link to a very good 3 part series that recently ran in the New York Times. Links to the 3 stories are near the top of the page.

http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2012/12/01/us/government-incentives.html

The formula is to give massive handouts from taxpayers to wealthy private interests, then slash spending on education and other public services.

First Fan /season tix Holder

December 10th, 2012
11:19 am

The bottom line is the Falcons do not get all of the revenue from the Ga. Dome why build a new dome for them to get that, when all you have to do is give the Falcons all the revenue from the dome as it stands now I know why Mr.Blank wants a new stadium I can`t blame him our elected officials need to come up with a plan to get everybodys hand out of the Ga. Dome pockets so all of the revenue can go to the FALCONS then we won`t need a new stadium I have been to over eight stadiums but none are as good as the Ga. dome sometimes new is not always good even Dallas new stadium is not better than the dome you can`t see the game live for the concourse or in the restrooms give the Falcons all the revenue we won`t need a new dome and you won`t price me out because I will not pay for a PSL. The tickets are high enough as is and I am A guy that will be hard to replace I have only missed eight home games in 46 years.Also the North site is to far form the Marta line where 50% of your fans come from on game day nobodys is in favor of walking up and down the hill on Northside dr. the south site is gonna be a problem with the wall behind the orange parking lot but you will have to put it there to stay on the MARTA line if you don`t you are not being very smart I`m a Falcons fan for life but don`t disrupt mine.So elected officals turn over all revenue to the FALCONS we won`t need a new Dome.

Aziz

December 10th, 2012
11:20 am

Royal waste of a billion dollars. I am a season ticket holder and there is nothing wrong with the current dome. They are going to come up with $300 million in new motel taxes? Do you think visitors want to come here and pay additional taxes just because we will have a new stadium?
How about some input from public or atleast the season ticket holders on this decision ????

Bravesfan77

December 10th, 2012
11:20 am

They don’t have to get revenue from the new stadium they can simply use the old one for that kind of stuff. Makes no sense and I don’t like it. People are homeless and things need fixed around here. I would much more like to see the police get a raise then let the spoiled athletes get their new stadium. Priorities here people, priorities. A stadium we do not need.

Bravesfan77

December 10th, 2012
11:23 am

Well DP, the way I see it we have a vote to use come election day and my vote will be to remove everyone who voted for this tax money waist.

the NFL always gets its way

December 10th, 2012
11:23 am

Once again, the NFL bamboozles another city/state into replacing a very nice stadium just b/c it wants it. Unbelievable. Just freaking unbelievable.

blazerdawg

December 10th, 2012
11:23 am

$300M from hotel/motel tax to keep Atlanta’s hospitality industry on the leading edge is a GOOD investment.

Improving the Vine City area with the deal and generating small business downtown that appeals to skeptical transplants and visitors would make it a GREAT investment.

Anybody remember downtown in the 60s & 70s before sprawl and flight – it was awesome!

Atlbirdawg

December 10th, 2012
11:23 am

Aziz,

Its not $300 million of NEW hotel taxes they would be extending a tax that already exists for the GA Dome for a longer period of time.

Main Man

December 10th, 2012
11:26 am

DP

December 10th, 2012
11:27 am

And for the economically illiterate who say that the $300 million is from a hotel tax so the taxpayers of the city of Atlanta aren’t really paying for it, if the new stadium wasn’t built and the tax was continued, that money would be available to benefit the taxpayers of Atlanta via increased services, funding of education, reduction of property taxes, etc.

hotel tax question

December 10th, 2012
11:28 am

I’ve heard a few people talk about how this won’t affect residents b/c it will be funded with a hotel tax. Does that mean this hotel tax couldn’t be used on other things? There are plenty of other things we could spend it on.

Gobstopped

December 10th, 2012
11:30 am

In year 31 of this stadium’s existence, the taxpayers will still be owed a little over $197 million dollars. That means the 30 years of rent payments from the Falcons will not repay the taxpayers HALF of what they were given.

I’m not a fan of raising taxes when politicians spend what they already receive so unwisely, but I’m especially appalled that we would institute a tax to pay for a private entity’s business venture. You know how we know it’s private? Because the Falcons will retain ALL revenue generated at the stadium, while only paying a measly $2.5 million + 2% per year in rent. This is a disgusting display of corporate welfare.

Atlbirdawg

December 10th, 2012
11:33 am

It’s obvious that the majority of the people posting on this topic have no clue at to what is being proposed, they hear ” tax” and freak out to their own inaccurate conclusions. I personally don’t think there is anything wrong with the GA Dome but the plan that has been proposed will not cost the GA or ATL resident anything unless they actually go to the games and have to pay to cover the PSLs. Blank can afford to do this on his own and would have the backing from the NFL, if he does he will go outside of the city where land is cheaper and build it for less. I would bet that he would then begin to land all the other events that are currently held at the GA Dome which pays the GAWCC. If the Falcons leave the Dome then the GAWCC loses one of its largests sources of revenue and the Dome will be short lived. The city of Atlanta will lose massive amounts of revenue as a result. It is beneficial for the city for the Falcons and the stadium to stay in Atlanta.

getreal

December 10th, 2012
11:35 am

I don’t care if it’s an extension of a current tax or if non-residents would be responsible for paying it. They want to use tax money (public money!) to subsidize Arthur Blank’s business when we have roads that are falling apart and kids who “can’t read real good.”

TheLazyComic

December 10th, 2012
11:36 am

More money wasted. Why is the Untied States such a “throw it away” place?

J Dunbar

December 10th, 2012
11:38 am

Atlbirdawg,

You seem to believe that this hotel tax can only exist if the funds are used on the stadium. Is that correct?

If so, I have some oceanfront property in Arizona for sale. Thought you might be interested. Let me know.

Thanks.

Build it, they will come

December 10th, 2012
11:39 am

What the naysayers don’t mention is that all the possible events a new stadium will provide. The Georgia Dome has fulfilled its purpose. The GWCC needs the land to build more exhibit space to attract the large conventions. These conventions provide money and jobs to all the Atlanta area. Yes I want the Falcons to pay as much of the cost as possible. Business is what drives the economy, not some poor ass old tea bagger who wouldn’t know how business works. All the tea baggers know is NO TAXES.

Atlbirdawg

December 10th, 2012
11:41 am

The Falcons are not the ONLY revenue source for the DOME!!! SEC Championship, Chic-fil-a Bowl, Kickoff classic, final fours, monster truck, concerts, ect, ect, ect. This money goes to pay for the dome/stadium as well. The Falcons are just the most significant fulltime tenent of the Dome. A new stadium will also be able to host these events which would contribute to paying it off. I wish I could find a tenent who would put up of 60% of the cost of a house and then agree to rent it from me for 30 years.

Wutehvah

December 10th, 2012
11:44 am

Nawlin’s seems to be doing OK with their 30+ year old dome – still pulling Super Bowls and other large events. Why?? People wanna travel there!!

sam

December 10th, 2012
11:44 am

I challenge anyone who supports this stadium idea to name anything good this does for the average Falcon fan. Location? Still hard to get to. Parking? As bad as always. Super Bowl? We won’t be able to get tickets. Cost? Worse part – Personal Seat Licenses plus cost of Season tickets. Nicer stadium? Just what the hell is wrong with the GA Dome anyway?

I bought my first season tickets in 2008 to support a team that was in shambles. Now that they have turned it around, this is the “reward” the loyal fans get? Looks like 2016 will be my last season.