New stadium with retractable roof possible for Falcons

The Atlanta Falcons have been on a crusade to land a new stadium for quite a while and all along owner Arthur Blank has been clear – he wants his team to play in an open-air stadium.

In order for a deal to eventually get done, the Falcons might have to play in a stadium with a retractable roof, an option that could cost the team and every other party involved significantly more in construction costs.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that neither the team nor Georgia World Congress Center Authority have ruled that out as an option. The goal, though, is for an open-air stadium with the Georgia Dome to remain open as a viable stadium for indoor events.

Per the report, the retractable roof option would only be pursued if it was deemed that having two stadiums wasn’t viable, meaning there wouldn’t be enough business to keep the Georgia Dome rolling.

"Our energy has been focused on, ‘Can you do two stadiums? And can they work financially for all concerned?'" GWCC Authority executive director Frank Poe told the newspaper.

"No option has been taken off the table," Poe said. "During the course of the last two-three years, the Authority has studied a number of possibilities for a successor stadium on our campus and will continue to do so.

"Over the past several weeks, our focus has been to identify and assess the components for development of a fiscally responsible business arrangement with the Falcons for an open-air stadium on our campus while maintaining the Georgia Dome.”

Cost for an open-air stadium is believed to be about $700 million. Adding a retractable roof could add $200 million or so onto the project. Until a new plan is hatched, expect the Falcons to remain right where they are.

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Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune

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