ATLANTA, GA -- If it ever makes sense for the Atlanta Falcons to look elsewhere in metro Atlanta for a stadium site, they do have options. There's the 150 acre site offered this week by Clayton County, just across I-75 from Hartsfield Jackson airport.
But other counties would also be interested. Henry County Development Authority director Bob White says there are more than 4000 undeveloped acres south of Atlanta Motor Speedway that could be ideal for a new stadium. White says the county isn't actively pitching the site, though, because county officials don't want to undermine Atlanta's effort to keep the Falcons downtown.
The Falcons want to build a retractable roof stadium to replace the Georgia Dome downtown. The city is considering selling construction bonds backed by $200 million in hotel motel tax money to help pay for construction. The city would also fund infrastructure improvements. The Falcons would chip in some $800 million for construction, and have said they'd consider a suburban site as well.
DeKalb County offers the old GM plant in Doraville. Spokesman Burke Brennan says the site already has infrastructure, MARTA access and is within easy reach of Interstates 85 and 285. However, the city of Doraville is not interested. Mayor Donna Pittman tells 11 Alive News in an email: "We love the Falcons, and we certainly respect and appreciate everything (Falcons owner Arthur) Blank has done for metro Atlanta; however, we don't see how a stadium would serve as a much needed catalyst for job growth and revitalization."
There are other mixed reviews as well. In Gwinnett County, the economic development director writes "I am not aware of such a site, nor any interest in the Falcons stadium situation." A spokesman in Cobb County says the only football interest there is in the Owls, the new team for Kennesaw State University.