Will roof issues delay Falcons stadium again?


Atlanta Falcons officials expect to receive an update within seven to 10 days on the construction timeline for Mercedes-Benz Stadium — an update that should determine whether the retractable roof will be completed in time for the stadium’s scheduled opening.

Issues with the complex roof already have delayed the opening twice, first pushing back the target from March 1 to June 1 and then pushing it back further to July 30, and appear to threaten another delay.

In a statement provided Tuesday night to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Steve Cannon, CEO of Falcons parent company AMB Group, said the organization hasn’t changed the July 30 opening date at this point but is “working through the construction timelines.”

“No announced event dates have been changed, and work is moving forward at a rapid pace,” Cannon said. “Many areas of the building are finished, and others are nearing completion. We are routinely working through the construction timelines with our partners, and with any building this size, scope and complexity, adjustments to construction timelines are expected.”

The possibility of further such adjustments raises some obvious questions, including whether the Falcons could play in the stadium before the roof is operable or whether they might have to play elsewhere.

Brett Jewkes, AMB Group’s senior vice president and chief communications officer, declined to speculate on such questions, saying an update on the project schedule is expected in about seven to 10 days.

Mercedes-Benz Stadium’s first scheduled event is an Atlanta United soccer match on July 30, followed by two more soccer matches in August and two Chick-fil-A Kickoff college football games in early September: Alabama vs. Florida State on Sept. 2 and Georgia Tech vs. Tennessee on Sept. 4. Dates for Falcons home games are expected to be announced next month by the NFL, along with the rest of the league’s 2017 schedule.

The earlier delays caused Atlanta United to schedule the first eight home matches of its inaugural season at Georgia Tech’s Bobby Dodd Stadium. It isn’t known if Tech could accommodate matches after July.

One obvious candidate to host football games if the new $1.5 billion stadium isn’t ready would be the Georgia Dome, which officially closed after a Monster Jam trucks show March 5 amid plans to demolish it this summer.

A spokeswoman for the Georgia World Congress Center Authority, which operated the Dome and on whose campus the new stadium is being built, said preparations for demolition have begun, such as removing the turf. But “until the Dome is demolished, it could be utilized,” Jennifer LeMaster said Wednesday.

GWCCA Executive Director Frank Poe said in a statement that the state agency “has recently been made aware that construction sequencing related to Mercedes-Benz Stadium’s retractable roof is currently being evaluated.”

Echoing the timetable provided by the Falcons, Poe said GWCCA officials “anticipate having an update on the project schedule in the next seven to 10 days.”

The first-of-its-kind roof consists of eight petals, each to be installed in four pieces. The roof is designed to open or close in about eight minutes with what architects have described as a “camera lens-like” effect. A 58-foot-tall, halo-shaped video board will hang from the circumference of the roof opening, encircling the field.

The GWCCA’s latest project status report, dated Feb. 28, did not address the completion date. The report said “the mid-section of the petals on the operable roof are currently being erected” and that installation would continue over the next 30 days on the “operable petal tracks.”



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Atlanta Falcons

Steelers CB Joe Haden finding his way in new defensive backfield
Steelers CB Joe Haden finding his way in new defensive backfield

Through six games, the Pittsburgh Steelers have the best pass defense in the NFL. They are giving up only 154 net yards in the air per game. One reason for their improvement is the addition of veteran cornerback Joe Haden. A former Pro Bowl performer, the Browns released him in August, and then the Steelers signed him to their young, ...
Packers bring up S Jermaine Whitehead to fill Aaron Rodgers roster spot
Packers bring up S Jermaine Whitehead to fill Aaron Rodgers roster spot

On Friday the Green Bay Packers placed quarterback Aaron Rodgers on injured reserve. That means they had to bring in someone to fill in that empty roster spot and they decided to use it to add a defensive back. The Packers announced that they brought up Jermaine Whitehead from the practice squad. Whitehead appeared in two games...
Denver Broncos waive NT Kyle Peko on Saturday
Denver Broncos waive NT Kyle Peko on Saturday

The Denver Broncos have again waived nose tackle Kyle Peko, according to News 9’s Mike Klis. This is the third time this season the Broncos have waived Peko. They did it once on Sept. 6 and brought him back the next day. Peko was waived again on Sept. 9, but the Broncos brought him back on Sept. 11. He was signed as...
New England Patriots need more from Phillip Dorsett
New England Patriots need more from Phillip Dorsett

When the New England Patriots traded third-string quarterback Jacoby Brissett to the Indianapolis Colts for Phillip Dorsett, they were giving up a valuable trade chip and the expectation was that Dorsett would give them a boost. The Patriots had lost Julian Edelman for the year and also had to place Malcolm Mitchell on injured reserve....
Dallas Cowboys find their replacement for DT Stephen Paea
Dallas Cowboys find their replacement for DT Stephen Paea

Roughly a week after Stephen Paea informed the Dallas Cowboys that he intended to retire because of a knee injury, the Cowboys have finally found their replacement on the defensive line. The Cowboys announced on Saturday that they’d be elevating Richard Ash from the practice squad to the 53-man roster to take Paea&rsquo...
More Stories