New stadium coming to Atlanta?

Like every NFL team in the country, there comes a time when the team battles the city and/or state for a new stadium. Taxpayer subsidized stadium construction is a rather controversial topic with regards to NFL football.

For the last couple years, the Atlanta Falcons have been pushing the Georgia World Congress Center (the state’s organization which manages the Georgia Dome and other event facilities in Atlanta) to provide a new retractable-roof stadium in downtown Atlanta.

The AJC reports:

The Falcons are committed to play in the Georgia Dome until the bonds on the building are paid off. That is scheduled to be 2020 but is on pace to occur as early as 2018, the GWCCA has said. If a new stadium opens sooner, the Georgia Dome bonds would be paid off as part of any deal.

The road to a deal for a new stadium has been long and winding.

The GWCCA voted in February 2011 to negotiate with the Falcons toward a possible memorandum of understanding, or MOU, on a $700 million open-air stadium to operate in tandem with the Georgia Dome. At the time, the GWCCA said in a statement that reaching such an agreement “could take up to a year to finalize.”

But 14 months later, the parties concluded that the logistical and financial challenges of a two-stadium approach had proved too great and decided on a retractable-roof stadium that would replace the Dome.

According to wikipedia, the Georgia Dome was completed in 1992 at a cost of $214 million and was one of the largest state-funded construction projects in Georgia history. The Dome received $300 million in renovations between 2006 and 2009.

The Georgia Dome has been the home of the SEC Championship Game since 1994. A new stadium in Atlanta would likely have ramifications for the SEC in a number of ways. Obviously the SECCG could get a new home, as Atlanta still seems like the logical destination for the annual game even with its recent expansion. Additionally, the Chick-fil-A Bowl could be impacted, but most interestingly, it could provide a new wrinkle in either the newly formed “Champions” Bowl or even the new College Football Playoff which is said to feature semifinal games that rotate between six cities/bowls.

An Atlanta-based architecture firm named CLOUD decided to take it upon themselves to create some renderings of a new “Falcon’s Nest” stadium. Check out their site for more interesting images like the ones below:

New Atlanta Stadium

New Falcons Stadium

New Georgia Dome

Interestingly, these images aren’t from the architectural firm likely to design the new Atlanta stadium. Populous, based in Kansas City – previously known as HOK Sport, an international architectural firm specializing in designing sports facilities around the world – has created comprehensive plans for a new stadium in Atlanta and released them earlier this year. There are no cool renderings like the ones above, but if you’re interested in some light reading, you can see the full 37 page report here. Plans propose the Vine City neighborhood of Atlanta as the destination for the new stadium – not far from the current Georgia Dome location.

My guess is that unless you live in Georgia and have to foot the bill for a new billion dollar stadium, this sounds like a great idea! Who doesn’t like a new stadium?