Falcons stadium now to cost $1.6 billion, and it’s not finished yet

Both Atlanta Falcons officials and Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed have started referring to the team’s new stadium opening in 2017 as a $1.6 billion facility, which probably means it now costs $1.6 billion, though there’s been no official announcement. That’s up from $1.5 billion in April, which is up from $1 billion in late 2013, which was already a pretty crazy amount of money to spend to build a new stadium to replace a 20-something-year-old one next door.

Now, Falcons owner Arthur Blank recently revealed that the amount of public money for the stadium is now “almost $700 million,” up from almost $600 million at last accounting, probably because projections of the hotel-motel tax that will go into the stadium’s “waterfall fund” for future maintenance and operations have risen. Still, that’s a hefty sum for Blank to pay, on top of a hefty sum that Atlanta citizens will be paying (yes, they’re paying it even if comes from a tourist tax, since once the city collected the tax money it’s the city’s to spend however it likes). It seems inconceivable that this will end up paying off for anyone, but apparently this is what Jerry Jones and the taxpayers of Arlington have wrought.

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7 comments on “Falcons stadium now to cost $1.6 billion, and it’s not finished yet

  1. Taking a look at the Falcon’s Mercedes Benz Stadium webcam, you can see how crazy this design is to build. The large amount of cranes means that any delay must greatly increase costs just on crane leases alone. Not even Miller Park had this many cranes working simultaneously.

    I’m sure that the design work wasn’t done prior to construction starting since these projects are often “design in time” projects, so it’s possible that the construction techniques werem’t fully vetted for the “iris roof” until after the stadium structure was begun. That can add costs since this design is unique.

    For the future, just given how chaotic the work site looks I’d expect that any future delays would increase the price significantly. Delays may also mean that new cranes must be leased as the current cranes are sent elsewhere. A sign that the project is on schedule would be if the roof segments get finished and the cranes and scaffolding start dissappearing rather than holding up unfinished segments.


    1. With the roof design, the ghost of Drapeau’s Folly lives.

      Joking aside….while unique, this stadium and all that has gone with it, has taken insanity in a new direction. One has to wonder….should the Falcons all of a sudden become grounded (as in….they stink up the joint) will the bloom (even with other events held there, with obscenely high ticket prices to cover the use of the hall) be off the place in a few years. Let alone….be replaced in about 21 years.

    2. The “Arial View” photos (latest are from May) and the Ultra HD Panorama webcam views are most instructive for seeing the large amount of cranes and scaffolding.

      The interesting thing in the linked article is that this is now being referred to as a “Luxury Stadium” not a “Regular Stadium” or simply “Stadium”. I wonder if this is another way for the insane State of the Art clauses to be used? Hey, there are seven Luxury Stadiums in the league, ours needs to be updated to “Luxury Stadium”, too.

      Of course the flip side is that a city could claim the those upgrades are only applicable for a “Luxury Stadium” and therefore don’t apply to the State of the Art clauses in your Stadium, Mr. / Ms. Owner.


      1. Andy, I take it that we may be looking at regular, premium and super premium stadiums? No different than dropping by the ARCO for gas.

        This also sets up something even uglier, as far as who can afford to go to events at the Mercedes Spaceship. Not being mean here…but I can all but assure you, it will not be the neighborhood denizens for the most part. And this is based on simple economic fact….as in where it was built, etc. Hence those who will more likely go (beyond the fans of the Dirty Birds) and support events will be like those who will be the fans of the Cobb County Crisis…..ooops I mean the new Braves park.

        Again not being mean or terse…just being honest.

  2. Historically, the Falcons have attracted a large following from the region’s African American community, as many big money football supporters in the region choose instead to spend their time and money on SEC football.

    Arthur Blank has actually been very progressive in this regard, compared to the philistine who used to own the Hawks.

    Still, it is strange to justify building an expensive stadium just to charge higher prices. Why not just charge higher prices and see who pays?

    1. GDub,

      Understood. What I was looking at was moving forward…as in over the next few years.

      And yeah, props to Arthur Blank for being progressive. Yep they do have a large African American fanbase, which grew after the move to the Georgia Dome. Even when things were lean. But this was also too when prices for tickets, etc were more affordable..all things on the table.

      So now it will need to be seen if this will be the case at the Spaceship.

  3. Crazily, this new stadium is the same size as the Georgia Dome which even after adjusting for inflation only cost $361 million in 2016 dollars. And it’s a virtual certainty they’re going to have troubles with that roof. One-of-a-kind designs engineered during construction don’t have great track records.

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