Terms OK’d for Falcons stadium deal

The Georgia World Congress Center Authority on Tuesday approved unanimously the transaction agreement with the Atlanta Falcons for the construction of a new downtown football stadium.

The authority and the team have forged a number of agreements over the past year for the $1.2 billion project, but Tuesday’s action resolved several lingering issues and made terms of the deal permanent.

Initial closing is scheduled for next week.

The Falcons want a new, retractable-roof stadium to replace the 22-year-old Georgia Dome. The new building will be constructed just south of the Dome and is expected to open in 2017. It will be built with $200 million in hotel-motel collections.

The terms agreed to by the parties include the acquisition of two historic black churches, Mount Vernon Baptist and Friendship Baptist. Demolition on Mount Vernon will begin in March while Friendship will be torn down beginning in September, according to Tuesday’s transaction agreement.

The lingering issues included who would have the last say in building a new stadium if the facility suffers catastrophic damage in the last three years of the 30-year contract between the team and the GWCCA. The GWCCA prevailed.

Also at the meeting, the authority asked the Georgia Properties Commission to abandon several streets so they can become part of the project, including Mangum, Old Mangum and Elliot streets as well as the Mitchell Street Connector.