An anticipated vote to issue bonds for the Atlanta Falcons stadium project was delayed on Tuesday, but a top official said it could still happen this week.
The board of Invest Atlanta, the city’s development authority, had been expected to decide whether to issue bonds backed by city hotel-motel taxes to pay for a portion of construction on the proposed retractable roof stadium. The City Council approved the deal with amendments on Monday night.
Invest Atlanta President and CEO Brian McGowan said the late approval by City Council left little time to brief the development authority’s board on those amendments before its Tuesday morning meeting on the matter.
McGowan said a vote could be taken at the agency’s regularly scheduled monthly meeting Thursday and would likely happen no later than two weeks from now. He called the delay “procedural.”
The deal between the Falcons, the city and the Georgia World Congress Center would have Invest Atlanta issue bonds for $200 million of the estimated $1 billion in construction costs. The total amount of hotel-motel taxes committed would eventually climb far beyond that because a percentage of the tax is earmarked for stadium expenses through 2050.
Before Monday’s late vote — considered the most pivotal political decision on the project — the City Council added five amendments to the pact. One stipulated that no city general-fund dollars will be used on the project or related infrastructure costs. Another said Invest Atlanta will facilitate adoption of a “community benefits” plan to help revitalize adjacent neighborhoods before issuing bonds. And the Falcons also will increase their commitment to off-site roadwork and related costs from a maximum of $50 million to $70 million if needed.
The Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation has committed $15 million toward community development around the stadium, which will be built on one of two sites near the Georgia Dome. Invest Atlanta is expected to match that with money from Tax Allocation District revenue.
The Invest Atlanta community plan amendment stirred much debate on the council floor, with wording changes made as members sought to put more “teeth” into it.
Atlanta City Council member Joyce Shepard, also an Invest Atlanta board member, said Tuesday there were no major sticking points with the deal.
“We just have some technical things to get straightened out before we get to that (vote),” she said.
The Falcons hope to play in the new stadium in 2017, and the Dome would be demolished.
Staff writer Tim Tucker contributed to this report.