On downtown’s western flank, the detritus that was the Georgia Dome is gone, and massive tailgates in a setting that harkens backyards and city parks are but months away.
That’s the message from Mercedes-Benz Stadium officials this week, who report the 11-acre Home Depot Backyard is on schedule to debut in the Dome’s former footprint early this fall (a promotional website declares, more specifically, “COMING SEPTEMBER 2018.”)
Stadium brass also released new visuals that stress the below-grade space’s versatility for programming on non-game days—and provide a glimpse at a 35-foot, mirrored soccer ball structure that’ll begin to rise on The Benz’s north plaza this week, echoing in a way its jagged, feathered cousin around the corner.
Expect turf installation by month’s end, and a variety of permanent structures to take shape thereafter, officials said.
Permanent amenities will include: a “destination playground;” non-portable restrooms (hurray!); a half-mile bike and walking path meant to connect Vine City and other neighborhoods to downtown; and the Home Depot Pavilion at the project’s southwest corner. That’s described as “a three-pier, dual-level, shaded deck pavilion [that will] engage the tailgating audience in creative ways on event-day and offer additional amenities like picnic areas for the public on non-game days.”
Also on days the Falcons and Five Stripes aren’t playing, expect a public-accessible, regulation-size sports field for soccer, fitness events, and flag football. It’ll be part of “curated, year-round activations focusing on enriching residents and uplifting the community,” per a press release.
As for the Backyard’s more raucous purpose, tailgating, expect gates to open four and 1⁄2 hours before games. Lingerers will be booted two hours after the Falcons and United triumph, or at midnight for later contests.
Have a look below at the Backyard’s big ideas: