Georgia World Congress Center approves stadium plan - New York News

Georgia World Congress Center approves stadium plan

ATLANTA -

Georgia World Congress Center Authority officials approved a plan to build a new $1 billion stadium in downtown Atlanta.

The proposal calls for the Atlanta Falcons to pay $800 million for the stadium, with the remaining $200 million coming from the city's hotel-motel tax.

The plan must still be approved by the Atlanta City Council and Invest Atlanta boards.

"I think this is an extraordinary first step. There are a few more steps that have to be taken in order to make this all final. But I think as the economic development arm for the city of Atlanta, our perspective is that this is going to be a world-class facility," said Brian McGowan, the president of Invest Atlanta.

The location of the proposed stadium hinges on moving two churches near the preferred site. Both congregations have deep roots in the area.

Mount Vernon Baptist Church and Friendship Baptist Church would have to accept deals to relocate from the area of Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive and Northside Drive.

Beyond questions about the stadium site, critics say the process is moving too fast. They say the ultimate public cost could be high.

"This thing is going through so fast, it's amazing, and I think they are shoving it through like this because they don't want the public to know the terms of the deals," said William Perry, the executive director of Common Cause Georgia.

Georgia World Congress Center Executive Director Frank Poe said that if churches decide they do not want to move, the stadium will go to an alternative site near the Georgia Dome.

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