by: Jim Strickland Updated:
ATLANTA - Documents obtained by Channel 2 consumer investigator Jim Strickland reveal a new challenge facing a proposed new stadium for the Atlanta Falcons.
Strickland found evidence that the state and the football team received warning months ago that a new stadium south of the Georgia Dome would not be complete in time for the 2017 season.
Through legal counsel, Strickland had to negotiate with the Georgia World Congress to release the documents containing information neither side has admitted before; if the new stadium is built on MARTA tracks near the dome, the Falcons will play their first season in a construction zone.
The state's stadium consultant issued the news in July, saying the 16.5-acre south side stadium site is so tight, the new building must go up in phases.
The field would run north and south. In phase one, most of the structure would be in place in time for football in 2017, but the north end zone wouldn't be complete until summer of 2018.
There is not enough time to deal with building that part near the MARTA tracks underground beneath the end zone structure, according to the report.
Documents show the current Dome would be leveled just before the start of the 2017 season. The consultants give contractors only a few months to erect the retractable roof over the stadium in time for football. It would not be operable until the next season.
Many of the consultant's maps are blotted out with Post-It notes on the documents Strickland obtained. That's because the south side includes Mount Vernon Baptist Church, and other land yet to be acquired.
The GWCC is not secretive about plotting a stadium on the north. A stadium built along Northside Drive between Ivan Allen Boulevard and John Street would be nearly complete, including a sliding roof, by the 2017 season according to consultant Populous of Kansas City.
The GWCC gave a statement saying nothing's been decided yet.
But late Friday afternoon, the Falcon's statement indicated if they pick the south site, they'll make the winning architect avoid MARTA entirely, so the whole stadium gets built at once.