An Atlanta Falcons stadium in Gwinnett County? Well ...
The NFL team, of course, has been in discussion with City of Atlanta officials about building a new stadium to replace the Georgia Dome, which opened in 1992. The cost would be about $1 billion. Atlanta supposedly would cover its $200 million share by issuing bonds that would be backed by hotel-motel tax funds.
However, according to media reports, Falcons president Rich McKay said last week that if a deal cannot be reached with Atlanta, that the team would be forced to look for a better deal elsewhere in the metro area.
McKay said it was not a threat. But with the Falcons’ lease for the Georgia Dome set to end in 2017, the team does not want to stay in the building beyond that point.
“We just don’t believe it makes any sense,” he said of extending the dome’s lease.
And the team clearly wants a new stadium, particularly with a retractable roof for open-air capability. That is seen as essential to hosting another Super Bowl -- the city hosted the NFL title game in 1994 and 2000.
According to CBSports.com, William Pate, president of the Atlanta convention and visitors bureau, relayed this story from when he asked commissioner Roger Goodell in 2010 if the city could host the big game again.
"He said, ‘You need to get a new stadium,'" Pate said. "That's straight from the man himself."
And where better than Gwinnett as a stadium site? The county is the only one in metro Atlanta outside Fulton to be home to professional sports (the Gwinnett Braves). And Gwinnett has past ties with the team -- Suwanee (at I-85, exit 117) was the site for the team's training facility from 1977-2001.
So we ask, should Gwinnett County government and business leaders reach out to the Falcons in stadium discussions? Where should a Falcons stadium be located in Gwinnett, should that come to pass?
-- Share your thoughts on a possible new stadium in Gwinnett for the Falcons in the comments below.