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Mercedes-Benz Stadium
New Atlanta Falcons stadium logo
Location Martin Luther King Jr Dr SW
and Northside Dr NW
Atlanta, Georgia 30313
(actual)
Broke ground May 19, 2014[1][2]
Opened March 2017 (estimated)
Owner Georgia World Congress Center Authority[3]
Operator Atlanta Falcons Football Club[3]
Surface Turf[4]
Construction cost $1.4 billion (projected)
Architect 360 Architecture[5] (now HOK)
tvsdesign[6]
Goode Van Slyke[6]
Stanley Beaman & Sears[6]
Project Manager ICON Venue Group[7]
Structural engineer Buro Happold/Hoberman[8]
Services engineer WSP[8]
General Contractor HHRM JV (Comprising Hunt Construction Group, Holder Construction, H. J. Russell & Co. & C. D. Moody Construction Co.)[6]
Tenants Atlanta Falcons (NFL) (2017–) (projected)
Atlanta MLS team (MLS) (2017–) (projected)
Peach Bowl (NCAA) (2017–) (projected)
Capacity 71,000 (expandable to 75,000) 29,000 (soccer)

Mercedes-Benz Stadium is an under-construction retractable-roof, multi-purpose stadium in Atlanta, Georgia that will serve as the home of the Atlanta Falcons of the National Football League (NFL) and the yet-to-be-named Atlanta expansion team of Major League Soccer. The idea of a new stadium for the team to replace the Georgia Dome, the team's home since 1992, was first reported in May 2010. News reports state that the stadium will likely open in time for the 2017 NFL season. The total cost is estimated to be as high as $1.4 billion.[9]

Proposal timelineEdit

2010Edit

In May 2010, it was reported by multiple news outlets that the Atlanta Falcons were interested in demolishing the Georgia Dome and replacing it with a newly constructed open-air stadium.[10][11][12] The team was first pursuing a new stadium because of both the team's desire to play outdoors, and Falcons' team owner Arthur Blank's interest in hosting another Super Bowl.[11] The stadium was also pursued as a possible bid for a venue of an upcoming FIFA World Cup.[13]

2011Edit

Kansas City-based architectural firm Populous released comprehensive plans for the proposed stadium in February 2011.[14] Populous' early cost estimate for the project was $700 million.[15] According to the master plan, the stadium would have a maximum capacity of 71,000, but can expand to 75,000 for special events such as the Super Bowl. It will also feature multiple club levels, suites and exhibition area.[14]

2012Edit

In April 2012, Populous released a new price estimate of $947.7 million, which was significantly higher than the previous proposal of $700 million.[16] In April 2012, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that if a deal is reached, the new stadium's construction would be expected to begin in 2014, with the Falcons to begin regular-season play in 2017.[17][18] The proposed location of the new stadium is a large parking lot in Atlanta's Vine City neighborhood, which is less than a mile north of the Georgia Dome's current location.[19] Once construction is complete, the Georgia Dome would subsequently be demolished.[18]

On August 24, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that an official deal could be reached on the construction of a new stadium by the end of 2012.[20] They also reported on September 10 that Atlanta mayor Kasim Reed said site improvements could likely bump the total cost to $1.2 billion; however, that does not increase the actual building cost, which still remains at an estimated $948 million.[21]

On December 10, the Georgia World Congress Center Authority approved, in a unanimous decision, the blueprint and most of the agreement terms for the new stadium plans. According to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution article, the term sheet is non-binding and changes could be made at anytime in regards to the stadium's construction. Stadium location, however, is yet to be worked out; proposed locations being reported are both within walking distance of the Georgia Dome, with one site being located one-half mile north, and the other being one block directly south, at the one of the stadium's existing parking lots.[22] The project made national headlines for the first time in 2012 on December 15, with team owner Arthur Blank stating in the New York Times that he would rather a new stadium be constructed than a "remodeling job" of the Georgia Dome.[23]

2013Edit

During a January 10, 2013 press conference, Atlanta mayor Kasim Reed expressed his optimism and confidence in the construction of the new stadium; he also mentioned the possibility of the new stadium helping the city compete for its first Major League Soccer team.[24]

Georgia Dome, Atlanta, Georgia 2011

The new stadium will be built in the area in front of where Georgia Dome currently stands.

On March 7, 2013, the Atlanta Falcons and the city of Atlanta agreed to build the new downtown stadium. The maximum public contribution for the project is $200 million, coming from the hotel-motel tax in Atlanta and unincorporated Fulton County. The Atlanta City Council officially approved the stadium on March 19, 2013. The council voted 11-4 in favor of the use of city hotel-motel taxes to pay $200 million toward construction costs and potentially several times that toward costs of financing, maintaining and operating the stadium through 2050.[25] On May 21, 2013, the NFL approved a $200 million loan to the Falcons organization for the purpose of building the stadium.[9]

On June 18, 2013, it was announced that the Falcons have completed a full conceptual design of the proposed new stadium, and that they have secured the initial approval to proceed with the schematic design phase. According to Doug Farrar's Shutdown Corner, "The stadium will seat approximately 70,000 people, with 180 luxury suites and 7,500 club seats." The main agency involved will be 360 Architecture, partnered with three other architectural firms. The estimated cost of the facility is $1 billion.[26]

2014Edit

Arthur Blank indicated the groundbreaking of the New Falcons stadium would be conducted the last week of March 2014.[27][28][29] Just after Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive was closed permanently, the Mount Vernon Baptist Church held its last Sunday service on March 9 before the historic church was demolished. Due to legal issues surrounding the issuing of bonds, the stadium did not break ground in March 2014.[30] Instead the ground was officially broken in a ceremony led by Mayor Kasim Reed on May 19, 2014.[31]

DesignEdit

New Atlanta Falcons Stadium overhead February 2014

The pinwheel-shaped roof can open and close based on weather conditions.

The winning design, submitted by 360 Architecture (since acquired by HOK[32]), featured an eight-panel retractable roof that resembles a pinwheel, and a glass wall that opens with the roof, to allow in fresh air.[33]

The Falcons new stadium will feature 8 triangular translucent panels, that when open will create the illusion of a birds wings extended. Surrounding the opening of the roof will be a halo video board that will enclose the playing surface, stretching from one of the 10 yard lines to the other and then curving around the end zones to complete the oval. [34]

In January 2015, the Falcons announced the hiring of Daktronics, a South Dakota-based firm, to build the stadium's electronics display. The announced features include a circular 58-foot-by-1,100-foot circular LED board that would ring the opining of the stadium's roof, and would be "three times as large as the current largest single display board in the NFL" installed at EverBank Field in Jacksonville (also built by Daktronics). In addition, the company plans to install more than 20,000 square feet of other LED boards, including field-level advertising boards for soccer games.[35]

The venue will include a 100-yard bar that will stretch the length of the football field in the upper concourse, along with a fantasy football lounge and premium club seating at field level, behind the teams benches. [36]

New Atlanta Stadium MLS configuration

The mechanical curtains close off the upper bowl from the rest of the stadium.

Architect Bill Johnson said the circular opening in the roof was inspired by the Roman Pantheon ("Pantheon" was also the working name for the building design). The roof was designed to be made of a clear, lightweight polymer material that can adjust its opacity to control light, and much of the exterior will be clear polymer or glass to allow views to the outside. The middle concourse and upper bowl were eliminated in the east end zone to allow for an unobstructed view of the Atlanta skyline.[33]

Atlanta MLS team General Manager Jim Smith said the design had "soccer in mind from the very beginning", pointing to the retracting lower bowl seats to widen the field, and mechanized curtains that limits the capacity to about 29,000 and makes the stadium feel more intimate.[37]

Costs and fundingEdit

In December 2014, the Georgia World Congress Center's board of governors approved a resolution to raise the cost of the stadium to $1.2 billion. The stadium was initially slated to cost $1 billion, then rose to $1.2 billion in October 2013.[38]

The city has agreed to contribute $200 million in stadium bonds, but with additional tax revenues[39] and with the state of Georgia contributing $40 million for parking expansion, public spending is expected to reach near $600 million.[40]

In January 2015, the Falcons announced the sale of personal seat licenses (PSL) costing up to $45,000 per seat, depending on the section of the stadium. The most expensive tickets will be priced at $385 per game, in addition to one-time PSL fees, for the first three years.[41]

Major eventsEdit

  • On November 15, 2014, the NCAA announced New Atlanta Stadium will hold the men's college basketball Final Four in 2020.[43]

ReferencesEdit

  1. Tucker, Tim. "Falcons Set Ground-Breaking Ceremony for Monday", May 15, 2014. Retrieved on May 28, 2014. 
  2. Tucker, Tim. "At Stadium Groundbreaking, Blank Lobbies for a Super Bowl", May 19, 2014. Retrieved on June 3, 2014. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 Tucker, Tim. "Comparing Braves, Falcons Stadium Deals", November 14, 2013. Retrieved on February 21, 2014. 
  4. WATCH: Video Shows How New Atlanta Stadium Will Transform into Home of 2017 Expansion Team. Major League Soccer (April 23, 2014). Retrieved on April 24, 2014.
  5. Hanzus, Dan (April 30, 2013). Atlanta Falcons' Stadium Concepts a Peek Into Future. National Football League. Retrieved on April 30, 2013.
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 Template:Cite press release
  7. New Atlanta Stadium. ICON Venue Group. Retrieved on February 21, 2014.
  8. 8.0 8.1 Saporta, Maria. "GWCCA Committee Approves 360 Architecture for Stadium Design", April 29, 2013. Retrieved on February 21, 2014. 
  9. 9.0 9.1 Wilner, Barry. "Falcons Get $200 Million NFL Loan for Stadium", CBS News, May 21, 2013. Retrieved on May 21, 2013. 
  10. McKay: Hope New Stadium by 2015. ESPN (May 21, 2010). Retrieved on September 9, 2012.
  11. 11.0 11.1 "Falcons Prefer New Open-Air Stadium, Downtown", May 19, 2010. Retrieved on September 9, 2012. 
  12. "Falcons Want Open Air Stadium North of GWCC", May 19, 2010. Retrieved on September 9, 2012. 
  13. "Roger Goodell: Atlanta Needs New Stadium to Host Super Bowl Again", November 11, 2010. Retrieved on September 9, 2012. 
  14. 14.0 14.1 Master Plan Phase III – New Open Air NFL Stadium. Populous. Retrieved on September 9, 2012.
  15. "Falcons' Push for Open-Air Stadium Gets Lift", February 22, 2011. Retrieved on September 9, 2012. 
  16. "New Falcons Stadium Cost Could Exceed $1 billion", April 27, 2012. Retrieved on September 9, 2012. 
  17. "New Stadium Plan: Retractable Roof, Demolish Dome", April 25, 2012. Retrieved on March 19, 2013. 
  18. 18.0 18.1 "Atlanta Falcons seeking $1 billion retractable-roof stadium", Fox News, NewsCorp, April 26, 2012. Retrieved on September 9, 2012. 
  19. Stafford, Leon. "Neighbors of Potential New Stadium Seek Voice", May 26, 2012. Retrieved on August 8, 2012. 
  20. "Stadium Deal Could Be Done by End of Year", August 24, 2012. Retrieved on September 9, 2012. 
  21. "Reed: Work Around New Falcons Stadium Could Boost Cost to $1.2 Billion", September 10, 2012. Retrieved on September 12, 2012. 
  22. Stafford, Leon. "GWCCA Approves Falcons Stadium Blueprint", December 10, 2012. Retrieved on January 10, 2013. 
  23. Tierney, Mike. "Falcons Seek New Dome, Not Atlanta Fixer-Upper", December 15, 2012. Retrieved on January 10, 2013. 
  24. McWilliams, Jeremiah. "Mayor Reed confident Atlanta will get new stadium", January 10, 2013. Retrieved on January 10, 2013. 
  25. "Atlanta council clears stadium plan", March 19, 2013. Retrieved on March 19, 2013. 
  26. Farrar, Doug. "Falcons have initial approval to go forward with futuristic stadium design", Shutdown Corner, Yahoo! Sports, June 18, 2013. Retrieved on November 23, 2013. 
  27. Saporta, Maria (October 14, 2013). Atlanta Falcons Owner Arthur Blank Said New $1 Billion Stadium Development Is ‘in a Geally Good Place’. Saporta Report. Retrieved on February 21, 2014.
  28. Caldwell, Carla. "Blank: Falcons Stadium Groundbreaking Week of March 31", October 14, 2013. Retrieved on February 21, 2014. 
  29. Blank: Falcons Stadium Groundbreaking Week of March 31. Atlanta Falcons (October 16, 2013). Retrieved on February 21, 2014.
  30. Shapiro, Jonathan. "Judge Hears Arguments In Legal Challenge Of Falcons Stadium Financing", WABE, April 10, 2014. Retrieved on May 14, 2014. 
  31. Tucker, Tim. "At stadium groundbreaking, Blank lobbies for a Super Bowl", May 19, 2014. Retrieved on May 19, 2014. 
  32. Stafford, Diane. "HOK Will Acquire Kansas City-Based 360 Architecture", August 19, 2014. Retrieved on February 13, 2015. 
  33. 33.0 33.1 Newcomb, Tim. "MLS in Atlanta: The $1.2 Billion Stadium Blank’s New Team Will Share with the Falcons", Sports Illustrated, April 16, 2014. Retrieved on May 14, 2014. 
  34. Tucker, Tim. "Falcons, Braves Stadium Designs Advance", June 21, 2014. Retrieved on February 13, 2015. 
  35. Tucker, Tim. "Falcons Hire Firm to Build NFL’s Largest Video Board", January 30, 2015. Retrieved on February 5, 2015. 
  36. http://www.myajc.com/news/sports/falcons-braves-stadium-designs-advance/ngNkF/?icmp=ajc_internallink_invitationbox_apr2013_ajcstubtomyajcpremium#a09dff25.3728029.735543
  37. Straus, Brian. "Former Crew GM, Current Falcons VP Confident Blank, MLS Will Be Fruitful Combo", Sports Illustrated, April 18, 2014. Retrieved on May 14, 2014. 
  38. "Atlanta Falcons stadium's Cost Will 'rise up' to $1.4 Billion", December 2, 2014. Retrieved on February 5, 2015. 
  39. Template:Cite WEB
  40. deMause, Neil (January 20, 2015). Falcons Stadium Subsidy Nearing $600m Thanks to State-Funded Parking Garage. Field of Schemes. Retrieved on February 5, 2015.
  41. "Falcons Announce Controversial Ticket Pricing for New Stadium", WSB, January 8, 2015. Retrieved on February 5, 2015. 
  42. Cooper, Sam. "Chick-fil-A Bowl Adds Peach Back to Its Name, Will Be One of Six Semifinal Sites for College Football Playoff", Yahoo! Sports, April 21, 2014. Retrieved on February 5, 2015. 
  43. Tucker, Tim. "Atlanta Lands Final Four in 2020", November 14, 2014. Retrieved on February 5, 2015. 

External linksEdit

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