Monday, March 12, 2012

Mayor Reed kickstarts discussion about new Falcons stadium

Posted By on Mon, Mar 12, 2012 at 12:24 PM

Mayor Kasim Reed during this mornings press conference in Vine City
  • Joeff Davis
  • Mayor Kasim Reed during this morning's press conference in Vine City

Mayor Kasim Reed this morning nearly upstaged a press conference breaking ground on a Vine City Walmart — more on that later today and even more in this week's print edition — by giving his blessing to a new stadium down the street for the Atlanta Falcons.

"You haven't seen anything yet," the mayor told a crowd of roughly 150 people gathered to welcome the big-box retailer to the historic but beleaguered neighborhood. "Not far from here, in a little while, we're going to have a conversation about building a world-class stadium that's going to involve an investment hopefully in excess of $700 or $800 million."

The mayor told CL he "absolutely" supports the new sports complex. He added that conversations are still underway about the new stadium, which would most likely be located north of the Georgia World Congress Center on Northside Drive. But he's "hopeful."

Sure, it's been common knowledge that Home Depot co-founder and Falcons owner Arthur Blank has been angling for a new, open-air home for his football team, which has played in the Georgia Dome since the early 1990s. And that Reed has supported the idea.

But the mayor's comments today add weight to the topic — and signal that talks have moved along. The big question remains: will the city contribute revenues from its hotel and motel tax — which could contribute as much as $400 million — to help build the project? Or will it find better uses for the public cash?

So, the stadium... you fer it or are you agin it?

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