Falcons strike $35M deal with stadium architecture firm

by: Jim Strickland Updated:

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ATLANTA - Channel 2 Action News got a look at the first ideas of what a billion dollars can buy in a new stadium for the Falcons.

Channel 2's Jim Strickland was at a meeting Tuesday where the architecture firm talked about its challenge to make the Falcons' stadium experience more cool than even the coolest 60-inch, HD-screen-equipped man cave.

One idea: Get the fan out of his La-Z-Boy and into a stadium rumble seat.

The first concept from Kansas City design firm 360 Architecture is a futuristic stadium featuring a center oculus.

The roof opens and closes like a camera shutter, inspired by a falcon wing.

And to inspire a must-see experience, they're talking about impact seats.

"We want to get the fan back to the game and it has to be about the game or about the event," said Bill Johnson, lead architect on the stadium project.

A halo video screen will replaced the outdated dangling center scoreboard. But the Falcons concede the home HD TV screen is the real problem.

"There are alternatives today. The home experience has gotten very good and you have to compete with that," said Falcons President Rich McKay.

The architects have a second set of ideas hatched in a glassy rectangular shape that splits in the middle.

When that happens, the end zones are fully open air and the roof halves become wings for outdoor concerts. The budget for either idea will cost about a billion dollars.

"I don't think skimp will be a word that will be used a lot," McKay said.

The business of football is sponsorship. In the designs, outdoor video screens can be tailor-made.

Coke sponsors one game, maybe Nike has the next.

Officials are hoping the controversy over the stadium's funding is dwarfed by the vision of the stadium's future.

"I'd like to think that people will really get excited and embrace this. Atlanta deserves a landmark building. I think there's every opportunity to make an icon," McKay said.

A final design won't come until next spring. The stadium is expected to house between 68,000 and 72,000 seats for football.

The Georgia World Congress Center board approved a $35 million deal for design and engineering Tuesday.

The firm said they can make either the south or north site work.



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