From the first time I saw the design for the then-unnamed new Falcons stadium in October 2013, I was smitten.
Architect Bill Johnson poetically described how the first-of-its-kind retractable roof would open with eight panels traveling along octagonal tracks to create the opening by saying: “The heavens will open up.”
By Maria Saporta As published in the Atlanta Business Chronicle on February 12, 2016
Arthur Blank is approaching cancer the same way he has approached his business, sports and philanthropic career — methodically, strategically and heart-felt.
Blank is the high-profile owner of the Atlanta Falcons, a team he bought after leaving The Home Depot Inc., which he co-founded with Bernie Marcus and others.
In a deeply personal Feb. 9 interview given exclusively to Atlanta Business Chronicle, Blank spoke about being diagnosed with cancer and its prognosis; advice he would give other men; and how it has helped him adjust his priorities.
Next week, a group of Atlanta civic leaders is to meet for the final time to consider the planned greening of a roadway near the Falcons stadium. This project is central to the plan to build Mims Park.
The forced resignation of William Perry, former executive director of Common Cause of Georgia, speaks to the breadth of redirection of the national organization under the leadership of former Clinton cabinet member Robert Reich.
The Atlanta City Council has provided $48,000 to the ongoing effort to improve the area around West End and Morehouse College, an area that a Georgia Tech plan suggests is on the brink of revitalization.
Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank does not know how to say “No,” and that is costing him another $100 million.
During a panel discussion at the Rotary Club of Atlanta Monday on the rejuvenation of the westside neighborhoods, Blank let it slip out that we view the “$1.5 billion stadium” as an incredible investment.
Dan Cathy wants people to shift their focus a few blocks west of the new Falcon’s stadium to an area of Atlanta that’s struggling. Credit Dan Raby / WABE
All Things Considered Host, Amy Kiley, in a conversation with Maria Saporta & Dan Cathy >> Original Story
The new Atlanta Falcons stadium has a lot of people keeping an eye on the intersection of Northside Drive and Martin Luther King Jr. Drive. But, a local businessman and philanthropist wants people to shift their focus a few blocks west to an area of Atlanta that’s struggling.
Chick-fil-A CEO Dan Cathy says crossing Northside Drive in that spot is like walking into another world: from the wealth and flare of professional football … to the poverty and crime of ZIP code 30314.
He called for cooperation to help that area in a recent Atlanta Business Chroniclearticle by Maria Saporta. Cathy and Saporta expanded on the issue with WABE’s Amy Kiley.
Atlanta has won the first round of the legal fight over its authority to issue more than $278 million in bonds for the future Falcons stadium.
Fulton County Superior Court Judge Ural Glanville ruled last week in the city’s favor. Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed’s office issued a statement saying the mayor was “pleased” with the outcome.
However, the city cannot issue any bonds during the 30-day period during which the opponents can appeal the court ruling. Opponents said Sunday they are weighing their options and previously have said they would appeal an unfavorable ruling. They already have delayed a sale that was on a fast track in February.
The Falcons stadium is the next “Peyton wall” of Atlanta, a lawyer said Monday, comparing the sports venue to an actual wall the city erected across Peyton Road in 1962 to separate black and white neighborhoods.
By another account, the stadium saga is Atlanta’s version of “Groundhog Day.” In the movie, actor Bill Murray relived the same depressing events day after day after day. Poor people are the protagonists in this comparison to real life.
A seven-week delay in Atlanta’s schedule sell bonds to help pay for construction of the Falcons stadium was the immediate result of a court hearing Monday morning.
Bond validation petitions typically are open-and-shut matters. Lawyers for the government usually get a speedy ruling from a judge that allows the sale of bonds to proceed posthaste.
In the case of Atlanta’s bonds for the stadium, Fulton County Superior Court Judge Ural Granville set the next date for a bond validation hearing for April 10. In the meantime, opponents of the bond issuance can begin gathering at least some of the evidence they intend to use to try to prevent the city from issuing $278.3 million in bonds to help finance the stadium.
Atlanta is willing to pay an interest rate of up to 8 percent for the $278.3 million in revenue bonds it intends sell to provide construction financing for the new Falcons stadium.
To put that rate in perspective, Atlanta’s airport is paying rates ranging from 2 percent to 6 percent on its $3.1 billion in outstanding bonds, according to the airport’s 2013 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report. The airport bonds are paid with proceeds of airport revenues, passenger fees and federal grants.
These terms and others are cited in the bond validation petition that Fulton County Superior Court Judge Ural Granville is scheduled to hear Feb. 17. Opponents who think the stadium deal could do more than the current plan to transform nearby neighborhoods are expected to contest the bond validation.
A planned VIP parking lot at the future Falcons stadium will require a virtual dead end of Martin Luther King Jr. Drive at the stadium, and will affect the road’s ability to become the grand boulevard envisioned by Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed.
[Scroll down the story to see a gallery of photos of the Martin Luther King Jr. Drive corridor.]
The first public discussion of this proposal is scheduled Tuesday morning during the Atlanta City Council’s Utilities Committee.
The Falcons contend fans will benefit from VIP parking and related traffic management plan that will enhance their game-day experience. Others disagree.
Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed prevailed Monday when the Atlanta City Council approved a community benefits deal that will release $200 million in city funds for the future Falcons stadium.
Reed wanted a deal done by year’s end, and the council approved the deal unanimously. But the issue may not be over: Some civic leaders threaten to file a lawsuit to overturn the benefits deal and block the funds.
Invest Atlanta expects to begin accepting applications for projects in January. In addition, the council is to appoint members to a committee it created Monday that’s intended to promote job creation in the stadium neighborhoods.
As if to underscore the extent of blight in stadium neighborhoods, the council approved a $59,126 contract to cover four years of back rent for a police precinct in Vine City.