ATLANTA – The Atlanta Falcons are negotiating a deal to build a $1 billion retractable-roof stadium to replace the Georgia Dome, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported Thursday.
In talks Wednesday with state officials, the team said it was no longer pursuing a new $700 million open-air stadium, instead proposing the construction of a $947.7 million, state-of-the-art stadium.
Under the previous plan, the Georgia Dome would have remained intact to host other events, such as concerts and the Final Four. The new plan would mean the 20-year-old dome would be torn down, which may not sit well with state residents.
Frank Poe, executive director of the state authority that operates the dome, said negative public reaction to tearing down the Georgia Dome is a "valid concern."
Poe met Wednesday with Falcons president Rich McKay, touting substantial progress toward an agreement to fund the new stadium.
The state and city are reportedly planning to contribute about $300 million toward the stadium through the extension of a hotel/motel tax.
The team feels the Georgia Dome is becoming outdated compared to new stadiums that have opened in recent years, and has expressed a desire to play outdoors.
The Falcons hope a deal can be reached to allow construction to start in 2014, and the first game to be played in 2017.