The new stadium plans for the Atlanta Falcons have hit yet another hurdle, and this stumbling block has the potential to take them down for the count.
The city of Atlanta plans to sell $200 million of bonds to pay for their part in the new stadium. However, the bonds sale cannot begin until all parties involved—i.e., the areas that will be affected by the construction—are on board with how those areas will be addressed and subsequently handled.
In a meeting last week put together by Invest Atlanta, the city’s economic development authority, the issues became temporarily insurmountable. Early on in the meeting, Invest Atlanta members called the deal a ‘community development plan’ instead of a ‘community development agreement.’ While the difference in terms may sound inconsequential, the consequences could be major. Initiating an agreement locks all parties into the deal, while a plan isn’t in any way set in stone. All in all, it was discovered that there were three amendments missing from the documentation Invest Atlanta used to prepare for the meeting. The original target date of having the deal ready to set in motion by September 25 has now been unceremoniously tabled, and no new target date has been established. Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of Invest Atlanta Ernestine Garey agrees with postponing the target date, stating that “we’ve got some adjustments, and we’re going to make them.”
To say the meeting wasn’t productive to anyone would be a fair assessment, but it did unveil a further need for better organization and communication. Indefinitely postponing the target date of initiation can’t set well with Falcons owner Arthur Blank, considering his full-speed-ahead mentality. The old adage ‘one step forward, two steps back’ may well apply here, but the ramifications are too important to take lightly.