• Final design plans approved for new Falcons stadium

    By: Jim Strickland


    ATLANTA - The Georgia World Congress Center board Tuesday approved more than 2,000 documents that make up the final design plans for a new combined football and soccer stadium south of the current Georgia Dome.

    Board members also learned that the excavation is 95 percent complete, and that more than 750 pilings have already been driven into the ground to support the structure.

    The final design includes a seating chart, allowing the Falcons to figure how to price personal seat licenses.  Fans must first buy a personal seating license just to have the right to buy season tickets.

    Team president Rich McKay told Channel 2's Jim Strickland in his only TV interview that the pricing goal is to allow current fans to afford to keep coming.

    "We've got to present to them prices and payment options that give them that opportunity. We talk about it all the time, and it's still No.1 on our list when it comes to the PSL and pricing program," said McKay. Prices should be set in six months.

    The seating bowl is now set at 70,427 seats for standard NFL, expandable to nearly 75,000 for a Superbowl.

    Plans approved Tuesday show a stadium not much different from the initial concept presented 15 months ago.

    “It's a little rare.  We've stayed true to the concept.  We've liked the concept from the beginning, the pantheon that 360 (Architecture) presented to us, and we've tried to work toward that goal," said McKay.

    The design keeps the 100-yard bar, but does away with expandable luxury suites.

    "That was an idea that we tested and people weren't really excited about," said chief architect Bill Johnson.

    Seats that shake when a big hit occurs on the field caused a buzz in the national press 15 months ago, but they're out of the final plans too.

    "The problem was who's going to push the button?  And does that give you an unfair advantage if you're pushing the button all the time?" said Johnson.

    The estimated construction cost currently stands at $1.2 billion, but it likely will not stay there.

    The next big milestone is setting the guaranteed maximum price to build the stadium.  The contractor, the Falcons and the state must agree on it.

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