The longer the Atlanta Falcons and the Georgia World Congress Center Authority (GWCC) negotiate on a new stadium for the team, the more it seems that a stadium with a retractable roof may be an option. The Falcons would prefer to have an open-air stadium and the GWCC wants an indoor stadium to host events like the SEC Championship game, the Chick-fil-A Bowl and the NCAA basketball Final Four. However, the longer talks last, or if it's not financially feasible to have two stadiums, the greater the chances of replacing the Georgia Dome with a new stadium that has a retractable roof or adding a retractable roof to the already existing stadium.
From the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:
"Our energy has been focused on, ‘Can you do two stadiums? And can they work financially for all concerned?'" GWCC Authority executive director Frank Poe said in an interview with the AJC this week.
The GWCC did a study in 2010 and found that the Georgia Dome could be renovated to have a retractable roof for an estimated $200 million, but the Falcons desire a new, more lucrative outdoor stadium to play in once the bonds for the current stadium are payed off, which could happen by 2017. According to another GWCC study on an outdoor stadium built about half a mile north of the Georgia Dome, the estimate is it would cost $700 million. There has not yet been a study on a new retractable roof stadium.
Falcons team president Rich McKay sent the following email to the AJC explaining the team's stance:
"As we've said before, a variety of options have been on the table for quite some time, and none of them have been eliminated to date," McKay said in the email. "Our discussions have, to date, primarily focused on an open-air stadium. There are no new developments to share, so it's not appropriate for me to comment further than that."
Representatives from the Falcons and the GWCC meet monthly and will continue to do so until a decision is made. The major hurdle right now is trying to figure out a way to build a new stadium while keeping the Georgia Dome a "sustainable and viable entity."
For more on the Falcons, head to The Falcoholic.