Plans were revealed yesterday to build the Falcons a new retractable roof stadium, ready for games in 2017. New estimated cost: $947.7 million. $300 million would come from the hotel-motel tax but where would the rest of the money come from?
Beyond the hotel-motel tax, neither Poe nor McKay would provide specifics on how the proposed stadium would be paid for.
Asked if Falcons owner Arthur Blank is prepared to cover the roughly $650 million difference between the estimated hotel-motel tax contribution and the new cost estimate, McKay said only: “I think we have negotiated enough to understand what we think the financing plan would look like, and I think we would be prepared to make a deal on those terms.”
Said Poe: “Our board is certainly committed to ensure we work very hard and deliberatively to try to get a business deal that makes sense for the state and certainly understands some of the needs of the Falcons.”
So how much will the Falcons pay for this new stadium? How much will the taxpayers be on the hook for? Stay tuned.
How two massive stadiums would co-exist logistically as neighbors, and how the Georgia Dome would remain financially viable over the long term without the Falcons as a tenant, proved to be thorny issues.
“What became apparent to us,” McKay said, “is to get a true long-term solution that was going to work in everybody’s interests, you were going to need to go back to a one-stadium approach.”
Said Poe: “These deals are complex in and of themselves. With two stadiums, the complexities … get magnified by almost double.” Now, he said, “our energy is strictly focused on a single stadium.”
So, tear it down or sell it to Georgia State?
Meanwhile, Jeff Schultz has an excellent article saying a new stadium is fine, but the Falcons should pay for it.
It’s also easy to understand Blank’s position on this: He can’t generate enough revenue in the Georgia Dome – enough being relative to the giant ATM-like stadiums that exist in Dallas, Washington and New York. The Georgia Dome doesn’t have enough suites, enough signage, enough martini bars. It’s the reason the Falcons’ overall value pales in comparison to that of other NFL franchises.
But the Georgia Dome is just fine for spectators. It’s just fine for teams. It’s just fine for a Final Four or a monster truck race or a trade show. Nobody is affected by the fact that it doesn’t make a sufficient “cha-ching” sound for the Falcons other than the Falcons’ owner.
New buildings are nice. But the Falcons are a private business, not a post office or a branch of government. I just happen to believe that business owners should pay for the building that houses their business. I know – such a quaint and novel thought.
Amen brother Schultz. Glad to know you’re a fiscal conservative.