Falcons could have new open-air stadium in 2017

No firm steps have been taken yet, but the Atlanta Falcons could be on pace for a new stadium as early as 2017.

Falcons owner Arthur Blank has been working for some time toward his goal of an open-air stadium in downtown Atlanta and the team has gained some momentum in that direction. The team and the Georgia World Congress Center Authority have entered into a “memorandum of understanding,” according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

That means the two sides can enter negotiations on everything, including financing for a project that could cost at least $700 million. The projected site for a new stadium is within a half-mile of the Georgia Dome.

“We appreciate the Authority’s diligence in working through this process in a thorough and thoughtful manner,” the Falcons said in a statement. “We continue to have open dialogue with the Authority on a range of topics and options, with the shared goal of working toward an agreement that is in the best interests of the community, our fans and all other stakeholders involved. At this point, no decisions have been made; therefore, we will have no further public comment at this time.”

In the current plan, the Georgia Dome would remain open. It’s a good draw for the Chick-fil-A Bowl as well as other football games and basketball tournaments.

There is much to be ironed out but the sides appear headed in the right direction.</p>

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Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune

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