Taxpayers on hook for 1/3 of costs for proposed Falcons stadium in new deal

A proposed public-private partnership to build a new $1.2 billion stadium for the Atlanta Falcons would leave taxpayers responsible for one-third of the cost, an official with knowledge of the negotiations said Monday.

Frank Poe, the executive director of the Georgia World Congress Center, said a public forum in Atlanta on Monday night that taxpayers would maintain full ownership of the venue despite assuming only a fraction of the liabilities.

“The public sector will own 100 percent of the new stadium for 30 cents on the dollar,” Poe said.

Under a deal brokered by the Georgia World Congress Center, the state-owned convention center that manages the Falcon’s current home, and team owner Arthur Blank, the remaining two-thirds funds would come by way of the private sector.

Both the NFL and Falcons would make sizable contributions to that kitty, Poe said.

State lawmakers from the Atlanta area have proposed raiding hotel-motel tax collections to fund the state’s contribution, though a recent poll by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution found 67 percent opposed to using hotel tax revenues for the project.

The Falcons’ existing home, the Georgia Dome, was completed twenty years ago at a cost of some $214 million to taxpayers. Under that framework, the entirety of the project was funded by state revenue.

- James Richardson