Falcons’ field of dreams becoming real

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What’s next:

By April 30: The Falcons and the Georgia World Congress Center Authority plan to hire a lead architect.

By May 31: The Falcons plan to hire a general contractor.

By Aug. 1: The team and the GWCCA plan to settle on a site. The parties prefer a site just south of the Georgia Dome, but if they can’t purchase land owned by two churches by then, they would shift to a backup spot 1/2 mile north of the Dome.

By Oct. 31: Preliminary schematic drawings are to be completed.

Construction on the stadium would probably need to begin around mid-2014 if the franchise plans for the stadium to be opened in time for the 2017 NFL season.

A sampling of differences between the new stadium deal and the Georgia Dome deal:

—- The Georgia Dome cost about $215 million to build. The new stadium is expected to cost about $1 billion.

—- Public money paid for 100 percent of the construction cost of the Dome and would pay for 20 percent of that cost ($200 million) for the new stadium, with the Falcons, the NFL and personal seat license sales paying the rest.

—- The Georgia World Congress Center Authority operates the Dome. The Falcons would operate the new stadium.

—- The Falcons would be responsible for all maintenance and operating expenses in the new stadium that exceed available hotel-motel tax funds, while the GWCCA, a state agency, is responsible for such expenses in the Dome. (In both cases, 39.3 percent of a 7-cents-per-dollar Atlanta hotel-motel tax goes to the stadium.)

—- The Falcons would retain all revenue from the new stadium, including that generated for the facility by other events, compared to a profit-sharing arrangement with the GWCCA in the Dome.

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