BRADENTON, Fla. - Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed will propose a plan of finance for the Atlanta Falcons new National Football League stadium in the next two weeks.
Reed told City Council members during a work session on Friday that they can expect a proposed agreement between the city, Falcons, and Georgia World Congress Center Authority that will not present a financial liability to Atlanta.
The council has held a number of meetings and a public hearing in recent weeks to flesh out details about the $1 billion project. Some members of the public have urged the city to add neighborhood and transportation improvements, as well as minority contracting requirements. Those are being considered.
Under the preliminary plan being discussed, the City Council would have to agree to extend collection of an existing 7% hotel-motel tax to 2050. It currently expires in 2020.
The hotel-motel tax revenues would be the main source backing $200 million of bonds toward the stadium financing. Though the City Council would have to approve the financing, the bonds would be issued by a conduit.
The other $800 million of the stadium’s cost would be paid by the Falcons and the NFL, as well as revenue from seat licenses.
City Council President Ceasar Mitchell, who called Friday’s work session, said the meeting was an important step in vetting the new stadium and was “helpful in framing the conversations as the City Council moves forward in our discussions on the critical areas of infrastructure, community benefits, local business inclusion, and job creation.”
The Falcons want a 1.8 million-square-foot retractable roof stadium built to meet the standards of the NFL, the National Collegiate Athletic Association, Major League Soccer, and international soccer.
The new stadium will be built near the covered Georgia Dome where the Falcons currently play in downtown Atlanta. Studies have shown that it would cost the same, or more, to bring the Dome up to standards that meet the needs of the team and other professional sports.
The bond-financed Dome was completed in 1992 at a cost of $214 million. It is owned by the state and operated by the Georgia World Congress Center Authority. About $109 million of bonds remained outstanding at June 30, 2012.
It is envisioned that the portion of the hotel-motel tax currently going toward debt service on the existing Georgia Dome bonds would be redirected to the bonds financing the new stadium, according to Atlanta’s chief financial officer Jim Beard.
The city is evaluating whether to retire or refund the existing debt as part of the new finance plan, he said.