Jump to content

New stadium in the works?


BankerBird™
 Share

Recommended Posts

From the Atlanta Business Chronicle.

Sembler bids to win Falcons for GM site

Atlanta Business Chronicle - by Doug Sams Staff Writer

Taking wing? The Falcons would prefer to remain downtown, but are seeking a 100-acre property.

The Atlanta Falcons are throwing the deep ball for a new stadium and a developer is making a play for it — in Doraville.

The Sembler Co. wants to set aside 100 acres of the former General Motors Corp. plant in Doraville to build a new open-air stadium.

Sembler and an undisclosed equity partner placed a nearly $45 million bid to secure the plant in May, but GM thought the price was too low, according to sources with knowledge of the process.

GM is seeking closer to $70 million for the 165-acre site at Peachtree Industrial Boulevard and Interstate 285.

Other developers may also bid to build a Falcons stadium on the site.

Sembler’s attempt comes as the Falcons brass continues to discuss hopes for a new stadium, one week before the 2009 season begins.

“It’s at the front of our minds,” Falcons President Rich McKay told Atlanta Business Chronicle Sept. 2.

“We had no recent discussions with Sembler,” he said. “We have heard that GM was back marketing the [Doraville] site.”

GM spokesman Dan Flores responded by e-mail to the Chronicle, saying, “Due to the current economic climate, GM is not actively marketing the Doraville property on a wide scale basis. However, we are certainly willing to discuss the property with any interested party and will share information about the site with those who inquire. The Doraville site is a unique and valuable piece of real estate that we are managing carefully and prudently and will be sold when the time is right.”

Sembler first discussed a Falcons stadium on the GM site with the city of Doraville one year ago. Team majority owner Arthur Blank toured the site at the end of 2008, a source familiar with the process said.

The team would prefer to remain downtown, McKay said, “but that doesn’t mean you don’t look at sites around metro Atlanta.”

The Falcons have considered moving outside the city before. Under the Smith family in the 1980s, ownership even talked of relocating to Jacksonville, Fla.

But the team has been a fixture in the city since the franchise joined the NFL in 1966.

It may seem like long odds to convince the Falcons to move from downtown. But, Sembler President Jeff Fuqua says his company isn’t throwing a Hail Mary.

“The site is centrally located, it would have at least 8,000 to 10,000 parking spaces and the same access to MARTA that the Dome has,” Fuqua said. “And, it’s still inside the Perimeter.”

The Falcons have several reasons to consider a new stadium. Blank said as early as 2006 that the team has an unfavorable lease at the Georgia Dome.

Atlanta is a top 10 market. But the Falcons rank fourth from the bottom of a 32-team league in annual revenue. Forbes values the team at $872 million — 29th in the league.

The deal the Falcons signed with the state-owned Georgia Dome made sense in 1992. But the majority of NFL teams have renovated their old stadiums or built new ones since then, often entering into public-private partnerships.

Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones just unveiled a $1.2 billion stadium.

Most NFL teams now expect up to 85 percent of revenue from ticket sales, suites, sponsorships, concessions and parking. The Falcons get nowhere near that percentage.

“It’s not that the lease was inappropriate in 1992,” McKay said. “This was a deal that involved our team putting no [original] capital into this building.”

The Falcons must remain in the Georgia Dome until the bonds that financed its construction are paid off. That was originally supposed to happen by 2020, though the team had hoped for repayment by 2016.

The economy undermined that progress, but McKay said “everybody’s projection is still that it will happen much earlier than 2020.”

McKay confirmed the Georgia Dome is not part of the Falcons’ long-term plans.

The Georgia World Congress Center has a master plan that includes a new stadium south of the Dome. Atlanta’s bid for World Cup Soccer in either 2018 or 2022 includes plans for a new stadium or an extensively renovated Georgia Dome. “[We prefer staying] downtown, if we can,” McKay said.

But downtown has limitations.

The Falcons want a 100-acre property for a new stadium. The Dome sits on less than 50 acres. It will be difficult to find a site downtown as large as the former GM plant.

“The availability of land downtown is an issue,” McKay said.

Even so, one key city booster says pulling the Falcons from downtown will be difficult.

“This potential has been on our radar, but it’s highly unlikely,” said A.J. Robinson, president of the downtown economic development organization Central Atlanta Progress. “I expect the options will be limited. The state of Georgia is the Falcons’ partner. I don’t know how you find a stronger economic partner in this lending environment.”

— Staff writer J. Scott Trubey contributed to this story.

Reach Sams at dsams@bizjournals.com.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Replies 109
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

I don't understand the huge deal of moving the team from downtown to somewhere just inside the perimeter.... why are people so opposed to this?

Traffic and the central location. With it's current location, the Dome is fed by 75/85 and 1-20 plus it's own MARTA station. The GM plant in Doraville lacks the central location, it's own MARTA station and I-20.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The real economic and financial geographic center of the city is really in Buckhead, not in downtown. The city is a lot more developed toward the north rather than the south (kind of upside down triangle shaped). Considering that, any site between the north end perimeter area and downtown is fine. It will be impossible to find a site large enough in downtown so Doraville site is probably the only option. Look at the Braves stadium, it is south of downtown and really not attracting a lot of fans to every game just because it is too far for about 50% of the population.

Now, I am pulling for Doraville because the stadium would be almost within the walking distance for me (how sweet would be that!). In addition, the area has a lot more street level content than the downtown with restaurants, etc. The rest of the Doraville site would be developed as well with fan support content.

And finally, any stadium in continental climate nowadays would have to come with a retractable roof otherwise it gets limited use. Therefore, we would get to see indoor and out door games and never have to freeze our ***** off! :D

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I hate driving in downtown Atlanta to get to the dome. I lived in Atlanta for a few years, and it is still very confusing. Why can't they have a big freaking huge parking lot right by the stadium so everyone can park and tailgate within a 5 minute walk to the stadium. If the parking situation was better MARTA would not be as big of a deal. Besides MARTA can always expand, and add the new Dome location.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I hate driving in downtown Atlanta to get to the dome. I lived in Atlanta for a few years, and it is still very confusing. Why can't they have a big freaking huge parking lot right by the stadium so everyone can park and tailgate within a 5 minute walk to the stadium. If the parking situation was better MARTA would not be as big of a deal. Besides MARTA can always expand, and add the new Dome location.

If it's in Doraville, MARTA wouldn't need to expand. The station would literally be right in front of the new stadium.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The real economic and financial geographic center of the city is really in Buckhead, not in downtown. The city is a lot more developed toward the north rather than the south (kind of upside down triangle shaped). Considering that, any site between the north end perimeter area and downtown is fine. It will be impossible to find a site large enough in downtown so Doraville site is probably the only option. Look at the Braves stadium, it is south of downtown and really not attracting a lot of fans to every game just because it is too far for about 50% of the population.

Now, I am pulling for Doraville because the stadium would be almost within the walking distance for me (how sweet would be that!). In addition, the area has a lot more street level content than the downtown with restaurants, etc. The rest of the Doraville site would be developed as well with fan support content.

And finally, any stadium in continental climate nowadays would have to come with a retractable roof otherwise it gets limited use. Therefore, we would get to see indoor and out door games and never have to freeze our ***** off! :D

You mean the lazy B__tards just don't care enough to drive 20 minutes, there are many fans that has to drive for hours to get to the games. I have been driving from the Birmingham area for 21 years and the only game I missed I did it on purpose. LAZY S_O_Bs.

Also considering the teams does not recieve the 80% of revenues is probably because they do not pay for the lease like other teams do. Yes they could get much more with their own stadium but at the cost of a new one it would take at 10-20 years to get a return on that investment.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 problems I see with this...

1. New stadium means higher ticket prices and most likely seat licenses... who can afford that?

2. The Doraville location is fairly close to Spagetti Junction.... so any Monday Night Games will make traffic around that area a nightmare... because you also have more residental living in this area.... which is only an issue for those of us living in Atlanta.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

You mean the lazy B__tards just don't care enough to drive 20 minutes, there are many fans that has to drive for hours to get to the games. I have been driving from the Birmingham area for 21 years and the only game I missed I did it on purpose. LAZY S_O_Bs.

Also considering the teams does not recieve the 80% of revenues is probably because they do not pay for the lease like other teams do. Yes they could get much more with their own stadium but at the cost of a new one it would take at 10-20 years to get a return on that investment.

People just take for granted what they have. B'ham hasn't had a professional team since Barracudas so people are happy to drive 2 hours each way just to see the game. I know I did, I lived in B'ham for a couple of years. Atlanta has fair-weather fan base for all pro teams so it is no wonder.

As far as the revenue, if they can get up to top 5-8 teams and gross $250 Mil in revenue, they could pay the $1 BN stadium of in 6-8 years and make hefty profit after that. Check the Forbes list of NFL teams, their values, revenues, etc.:

Forbes NFL Teams Value Rank

Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 problems I see with this...

1. New stadium means higher ticket prices and most likely seat licenses... who can afford that?

2. The Doraville location is fairly close to Spagetti Junction.... so any Monday Night Games will make traffic around that area a nightmare... because you also have more residental living in this area.... which is only an issue for those of us living in Atlanta.

And the Connector isn't bad during rush hour?

Look, while both of your points are valid, they are not exclusive to the Doraville site. No matter where the new stadium is built (and we can all agree that Blank will have a new stadium) we are going to have to pay higher ticket prices and, unless the thing is far away from downtown, there is going to be bad traffic on Monday night games.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The MARTA station is literally right next to the plant. It is right off of 285 whereas the GA Dome no matter which way you go you have to drive several miles on backed up surface streets. There are still many other multilane highways accessible to the site. Fans heading north would add about 10 to 15 miles on their trip.

So long as there are plenty of entrances and exits it would be nice to have one parking lot for tailgating. It would be nice to actually park at the event I am attending instead of wandering 5 to 6 blocks. Over the last several decades I have been going to the games the tailgating experience is very scattered and mixed in with various non game day events.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The MARTA station is literally right next to the plant. It is right off of 285 whereas the GA Dome no matter which way you go you have to drive several miles on backed up surface streets. There are still many other multilane highways accessible to the site. Fans heading north would add about 10 to 15 miles on their trip.

So long as there are plenty of entrances and exits it would be nice to have one parking lot for tailgating. It would be nice to actually park at the event I am attending instead of wandering 5 to 6 blocks. Over the last several decades I have been going to the games the tailgating experience is very scattered and mixed in with various non game day events.

Agreed. Whatever location is chosen, it needs to be large enough to accommodate a properly organized site from a planning/architectural standpoint. The current Dome location and its layout is simply chaotic. There are few visual vantage points that can make circulation easy and understandable by everyone. Not to mention that tailgating is broken up and some parking locations are out of reach.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

And the Connector isn't bad during rush hour?

Look, while both of your points are valid, they are not exclusive to the Doraville site. No matter where the new stadium is built (and we can all agree that Blank will have a new stadium) we are going to have to pay higher ticket prices and, unless the thing is far away from downtown, there is going to be bad traffic on Monday night games.

Oh yeah... the connector is always a mess.... When they had the soccer games in the Dome traffic was backed up to 285.

Traffic is always going to be bad but when you add in Spagetti Junction and all the yahoos around there.... it's going to be horrible.

But I normally take Marta anyway so it's not going to affect me too much.

The seat license thing however... might make it so normal people can no longer afford to go to games. For example, have you seen some of the seat license fees for the new Cowboys stadium? I saw some that were $50,000 and this was before buying season tickets.

Granted it probably won't be that bad but anything from $2,000 - $5,000 for a seat license fee is possible.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Oh yeah... the connector is always a mess.... When they had the soccer games in the Dome traffic was backed up to 285.

Traffic is always going to be bad but when you add in Spagetti Junction and all the yahoos around there.... it's going to be horrible.

But I normally take Marta anyway so it's not going to affect me too much.

The seat license thing however... might make it so normal people can no longer afford to go to games. For example, have you seen some of the seat license fees for the new Cowboys stadium? I saw some that were $50,000 and this was before buying season tickets.

Granted it probably won't be that bad but anything from $2,000 - $5,000 for a seat license fee is possible.

It's pretty obvious with the lack of revenues a new stadium will be built and PSL's are coming no matter how you slice it. What bothers me the most about the concept are a bunch of non fans buying them up like rental investments and sub leasing every year to the highest bidder. My tickets went up 33% despite what the Falcons PR said. After 15 years of seniority buying season tickets I moved back to the nose bleeds only to have a bunch of unenthused corporate golf clappers sit in front. That's business and that's life. It wouldn't be Sunday without being at the game.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share


×
×
  • Create New...