Not only will the roof open on the new Atlanta Falcons stadium, but plans also call for massive concourse windows that can be opened to create the feel of an outdoor facility.
The latest designs for the stadium that will replace the Georgia Dome were unveiled Thursday on Channel 2 Action News by Falcons owner Arthur Blank and his lead architect.
“When the roof is open, the concourses will be open,” said Bill Johnson of Kansas City-based 360 Architecture. “That is kind of a new concept.”
The Georgia World Congress Center Authority board is scheduled to review and vote on the plans — called the schematic design — and an updated stadium budget Tuesday. A final design and a “guaranteed maximum price” are to be set next year, according to an agreement between the Falcons and the GWCCA.
The GWCCA, the state agency that operates the Dome, negotiated most aspects of the new stadium deal with the Falcons.
The latest design plans show some changes or additions from earlier versions. The retractable roof remains the signature feature, but it has taken on an oval shape. A “sky bridge” from which fans can stand and peer over one end zone has been added.
As in earlier renderings, the video boards are incorporated into the roof opening, the exterior of the angular building is a translucent material that can change colors, and a soaring wall of glass behind the east end zone is positioned to provide an unobstructed view of the downtown skyline.
“As you walk around, you’re going to be walking through an environment that is … clear and open and light,” Johnson told Channel 2 anchor Justin Farmer. “It’s so different than the Georgia Dome.”
“I promise you this is going to be a world-class sports and entertainment facility that will be equal or better to anything and anybody else’s in the world today,” Blank added.
The Falcons have said they intend to play most of their games with the roof open. Other NFL teams in retractable-roof stadiums keep the roof closed for most games.
The price tag is believed to have swelled well beyond $1 billion with property acquisition, road work and other items the Falcons agreed to fund earlier this year. The taxpayer portion of the cost has not changed.
Bonds backed by Atlanta’s hotel-motel tax will provide $200 million toward the cost of construction, with the Falcons ultimately on the hook for the rest. The Falcons have secured $200 million in NFL funding and also plan to offset their costs by selling personal seat licenses, naming rights and other sponsorships in the stadium.
The Falcons have not released details of the seat-license plan, under which fans will be asked to pay one-time fees for the right to buy season tickets.
Team officials hope to break ground on the stadium in April. Construction is scheduled to be completed in March 2017, after which the Georgia Dome will be demolished.