BRADENTON, Fla. - Both the Atlanta Falcons and Miami Dolphins, National Football League teams expecting public financing for major stadium projects, have each made significant headway toward their goal.
The Georgia World Congress Center Authority Thursday selected 360 Architecture to provide an “iconic” design for the $1 billion stadium for the Atlanta Falcons, the agency said. The authority and Falcons are negotiating a contract with the firm, and the final agreement is subject to GWCCA board approval.
The Kansas City-based firm designed MetLife Stadium, the 82,000-seat home to the New York Giants and Jets.
Earlier this month, Invest Atlanta, the city’s economic development agency, approved a bond resolution and a tri-party development agreement between the city, the Falcons, and the GWCC, the state agency that owns the Georgia Dome where the Falcons currently play.
The Dome will be demolished after the new retractable-roof, multi-purpose stadium is constructed in downtown Atlanta.
Invest Atlanta will issue $200 million of bonds secured by a local hotel-motel tax for the new stadium, while $800 million will come from the Falcons, the NFL, and personal seat licenses. The 30-year bonds are expected to be issued next year in a par amount of $226 million, which will include issuance costs and $15.5 million for reserves should hotel-motel tax collections fall short of debt-service needs.
In Florida, the state Senate is poised to vote on a bill providing partial public financing for nearly $400 million in upgrades to the Dolphins’ Sun Life Stadium in Miami Gardens. A companion measure in the House has become stalled as the end of the session nears May 3.
The Senate bill, voted out of the last committee on Thursday, requires the Dolphins to compete with other professional sports for a sales tax rebate of $3 million a year over 30 years that can be leveraged.
The bill also authorizes Miami-Dade County to increase the local tourist tax to 7% from 6% for stadium renovations if approved by local voters in a referendum.
More than half of the cost of improvements is to be financed by the team, which is eligible to borrow about $150 million from an NFL loan program.
“We look forward to continuing to work with our bill sponsors and the leadership as the bill works its way through the Legislature and to the governor’s desk,” Dolphins Chief Executive Officer Mike Dee said after the bill cleared the final Senate committee.
On April 10, Dee gave Miami-Dade County a $4.8 million non-refundable check for reimbursement of costs to hold the referendum on May 14. If the Legislature does not pass a bill, the referendum will not be held and the county will keep funds provided by the Dolphins.
Both stadium projects are designed largely to keep their locations competitive with other NFL teams seeking the coveted annual Super Bowl, and to lure other large sporting events.