The Atlanta Falcons hope to be in a new downtown stadium by 2017 and if they are not they will consider a move to the suburbs.

That is what Falcons president Rich McKay said at a City Council meeting Wednesday night, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

The Falcons have been working to get a stadium downtown to replace the Georgia Dome and Mayor Kasim Reed has been on board in working to find a solution that works for what would be a $1 billion project.

We would have no choice but to consider pursuing another option in metro Atlanta (if negotiations break down),” McKay said, according to the Journal-Constitution. “Please don’t let anybody say that’s a threat. No, that’s just a reality of what we have to do as our lease is about to end.

“We could do it (build a new stadium) for a lot less cost (elsewhere). That would not be our first choice. We think (downtown) is where the deal should be done, but it is our intent to play in a new stadium in 2017.”

The Falcons are seeking a retractable roof stadium near the Georgia Dome and have rejected ideas that the facility could be renovated. Last year, they reached a non-binding agreement with the Georgia World Congress Center, the group that owns and operates the Georgia Dome, to build a new stadium nearby with the team handling more than two-thirds of the cost, according to the report. That still leaves more than $300 million in public money that needs to be accounted for and that is a major hurdle at this point for the project.

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Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune