The Atlanta Falcons and the Georgia World Congress Center Authority are leaning toward building a new football stadium with a retractable roof rather than renovate the existing Georgia Dome, according to the Atlanta Business Chronicle.

An updated study by consultant Populous said it could cost $948 million to build a new stadium.

If the Georgia Dome was redeveloped the cost difference would be $88.4 million.

The study was requested in February when the Atlanta Falcons asked for more research into developing a facility that took into consideration items “necessary to satisfy the requirements of a current [National Football League] stadium program.”

The pertinent items included a football stadium with 66,000 to 72,000 seats, which is consistent with current NFL seating arrangements such as club seats at field level, according to the Populus study.

It also said the team had a “strong desire” for its games to be played outdoors, “particularly in a temperate climate like Atlanta” and recognized the need to accommodate indoor Georgia World Congress Center Authority events.

“A retractable roof stadium would provide that necessary flexibility,” the study said.

Populous concluded that modifications to seating in the existing Dome would “not achieve the desired game day or special event capacities” and that modifying the Dome would require that it be closed for 19 months.

“There is not a compelling difference between the cost of reconstructing and expanding the Georgia Dome versus the cost of building a new facility,” Populous said.

Frank Poe, executive director of the Georgia World Congress Center, said that there would be further ongoing study on a potential location for the new stadium along with negotiations with the Falcons, according to the Atlanta Business Chronicle.

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