• GWCC approves deal with city, Falcons for new stadium


    ATLANTA - Channel 2's Jim Strickland reported Friday afternoon that the Georgia World Congress Center board of directors has voted to enter into an agreement with the city of Atlanta and the Atlanta Falcons football team to construct a new billion-dollar stadium in downtown Atlanta.

    "I can't say it enough. The Falcons guarantee everything," Georgia World Congress Center attorney Denis Braham told the authority board.

    The Falcons are pledging $70 million to buy property, relocate Martin Luther King Jr. Drive and do other site prep south of the Georgia Dome where the new stadium would preferably be built.

    Strickland received a document from City Hall showing that a new MLK would curve to make room for the stadium. The road would cross a small section of what is now Mitchell Street, and encroach on Friendship Baptist Church and its parking lot. The church would be bought out.

    "It's really nicely situated to become a link if it's designed that way," said urban designer Peter Drey. "But the devil's in the details, and how they cook it is what's going to matter."

    After agreeing to issue a net $200 million in bonds to help replace the dome, Invest Atlanta will get input, but not veto power, on the design.

    "When people come for games, you want them to stay and spend money and go to restaurants and you want to make sure that's integrated into the fabric of the neighborhood," said executive director Brian McGowan.

    McGowan also addressed the controversy over his agency wanting free tickets to the Falcons games, concerts and other events.

    McGowan said policies will ensure those tickets are used for economic development. The GWCC Authority  already gets access to two suites in the Georgia Dome. It would get that in the new stadium too.

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