The Atlanta Falcons have indicated they would be willing to kick in at least $100 million more for construction of a new stadium, a move that could help secure the public funding needed to finance the proposed $1 billion stadium, according to three people with knowledge of the negotiations.
The deal would call for the NFL franchise to fork over $800 million for a stadium, up from the $700 million originally planned, to help garner the support of state and city officials for the proposed retractable roof stadium, said the three, who requested anonymity because of the sensitivity of the talks.
The deal also calls for the Falcons to fork over roughly $60 million to pay off much of the debt on the state-owned Georgia Dome, which would be demolished, according to two of the sources. The current debt on the dome is about $98 million. The city of Atlanta likely would issue the remaining $200 million bonds for the stadium, backed by the city's hotel-motel tax, the two people said.
Such a move spares Georgia lawmakers a vote on the contentious issue.
The negotiations are still fluid, the three said, but they hope to soon announce a final agreement. Falcons executives declined comment.
Gov. Nathan Deal has pushed Falcons owner Arthur Blank to reduce his request for public bonds backed by Atlanta's hotel-motel taxes from $300 million to $200 million. Blank is on the board of directors of Cox Enterprises, which owns the AJC. Deal said last week that the original number was a "little bit high" for his comfort.
"It's still very uncertain economic times, but I think people can recognize the validity of what they're advocating," he said in that interview. "My concern is to save the taxpayers."
Falcons could be ready to pony up more funding for new stadium
Atlanta Journal-Constitution | Jan 31