In our achingly scientific poll in December, more than 76 percent of Curbed readers said they would prefer the Atlanta Falcons to build their $1 billion, retractable-roof coliseum on the so-called "South Site" next to the Georgia Dome — as opposed to the "North Site" a half-mile away near Georgia Tech. Mayor Kasim Reed and team officials have since echoed that sentiment. The South Site, after all, has a lot going for it: proximity to two MARTA stations, the Georgia World Congress Center, the lion's share of downtown's tourist attractions and the proposed multimodal station, as well as the potential for sweeping skyline vistas. Little did we know then that two historic churches could railroad those plans. To adhere to their schedule of opening the 2017 season in the new stadium, Falcons' brass set an Aug. 1 (aka, next Thursday) goal to determine if the South Site will be feasible. Signs are indicating they could be looking north after all.
According to the Saporta Report, the GWCC Authority's Stadium Development Committee is meeting today to vote on a resolution to begin "due diligence work" on the North Site, located at Northside Drive and Ivan Allen Jr. Boulevard at the GWCC's truck marshalling yard. Could this be a bluff tactic to scare Mount Venon Baptist Church and Friendship Baptist Church into selling their respective properties? (The GWCC has yet to acquire the first church, while negations between the city and the latter have not produced a deal either, the site reports). Or could the Falcons truly be taking their talents to the North Site? Officials have made clear their preferred "Pantheon" stadium design is compatible with either location.
Writes Saporta: "It is unclear that if the GWCC committee and board approve the resolution to begin due diligence on (the North Site) whether that means (the South Site) is off the table or whether both sites are still under consideration."
Should the focus shift north, several important questions would arise: What would become of the Georgia Dome and surrounding property? Would the economic benefits package promised to Vine City and other westside neighborhoods be extended to communities near the North Site? Will the railroad tracks between the North Site and the rest of Midtown stonewall its economic influence?
· As Aug. 1 approaches, new Falcons stadium location shifting to north site [Saporta Report]
· Face-off: Which Site Better Suits a (Potential) Falcons Stadium? [Curbed Atlanta]
· New Falcons Stadium: The Losing Designs, Unveiled [Curbed Atlanta]