Documents show hundreds of millions in additional funds for stadium

by: WSBTV.com<\/a> web staff Updated:

ATLANTA - Channel 2 consumer investigator Jim Strickland has obtained plans for hundreds of millions of dollars in additional public money to pour into a new Falcons' stadium.

Atlanta bonding attorney Han Choi helped crunch the numbers Strickland obtained from Georgia World Congress Center in a report from bonding consultants at Citi Financial.

Two bonds raise $200 million. The city will have to sell nearly millions more in extra bonds. The extra money will pay costs and set up a reserve fund.

"A reserve fund is going to be required in today's market. That's what the investors are going to want and need," said Choi. "It is very likely that the sizing of the bond deal will be very dependent on how much hotel/motel tax will generate."

Strickland obtained projections from a state economist. They show hundreds of millions of hotel/motel tax dollars left over.

The 30-year surplus according to the report will total more than $200 million, even after the bonds are paid off.

That leaves the question: What will they do with that money?

"Instead of continuing to borrow and run the risk of higher interest rates, it's probably prudent to make sure that extra money gets recycled back into the project," Choi said.

A "highly confidential" funding plan Strickland obtained, says any extra money not going to the bonds will go into the new stadium anyway, "To pay for any costs relating to the construction and operation of the NSP (New Stadium Project)."

''That is basically a way of making sure that those funds are used for the stadium project and not funneled out elsewhere," Choi explained.

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Mayor says rejuvenating neighborhoods around Dome a priority

Mayor Kasim Reed is not mincing his words when talking about the areas that should benefit from the agreement for a new Falcons stadium.

Reed told Channel 2's Carl Willis he wants to make the Martin Luther King Drive corridor the best in the country.

MLK Drive currently houses decaying and vacant buildings just across the street from brand-new development.

The corridor is in the shadows of the Georgia Dome.

Reed said the neighborhood is a priority among the areas that would benefit from the millions of dollars devoted to community improvement in the Falcons stadium deal.

"My goal is to make the Martin Luther King corridor the most attractive MLK corridor in the country. I just want to be very clear about that," Reed said.

Willis also spoke with Atlanta City Councilman Ivory Young who said the goal is to invest in the people of the MLK corridor.

"It is bigger than just buildings. It is again the resources that we make available to provide viable options to our young people, viable options for families," Young said.

Young said just because millions are being earmarked for improvements doesn't mean that they'll just throw money at problems.

He said they'll look to create streams of revenue by making strategic investments

Young said much has been improved, but still more needs attention.

"We're not only going to build a stadium, but we're going to help rebuild communities and help to support the people who live in the communities," Young said.

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