A win by the Atlanta Falcons against the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday could go a long way toward advancing the team’s quest for a new stadium, Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal hinted in a report by the Atlanta Business Chronicle newspaper.
The winner of Sunday’s game in Atlanta goes to the Super Bowl in New Orleans on Feb. 3.
“Anytime people feel good about something, it is good,” Deal reportedly said. “I certainly think winning the game will be positive.”
The team is negotiating an agreement with the Georgia World Congress Center Authority to build a $1 billion, retractable-roof stadium near the existing Georgia Dome in Atlanta where the Falcons play now.
The agreement calls for the Falcons and the National Football League to pay for a majority of the cost, with the authority contributing $300 million in bond financing.
To issue the bonds, the General Assembly will be asked to increase the GWCCA’s bonding capacity to $300 million from the current $200 million in this year’s session, which began Monday.
Deal said the Falcons and the authority would press the case for the project before the state legislature, though he said there is a sense of urgency for lawmakers to grant the bonding authority this year to meet the team’s goal of playing in the new facility in time for the 2017 season.
“I think there has to be a whole lot more facts and information presented to the General Assembly,” Deal told the Business Chronicle. “I can understand the need for [the bonding], and I can also understand that some are somewhat reluctant.”
In related news, a new Falcons stadium also would be included in a downtown master plan being proposed by Atlanta City Council member Lamar Willis.
Willis has introduced legislation to create the Downtown Development Technical Advisory Group that would incorporate large projects already in the works, including the proposed stadium, the Georgia Department of Transportation’s multi-modal passenger terminal, and the Turner Field Redevelopment.
The advisory group would also identify future development opportunities for downtown Atlanta and develop a tangible action plan to “maximize the impact of the major projects we have planned for downtown [and] make downtown attractive for future investment,” according to Willis.
The legislation is seeking up to $500,000 to develop the master plan.