Mercedes-Benz Stadium construction has slipped by three months, and the delay to a June 1, 2017 opening won’t affect the Atlanta Falcons season, according to team owner Arthur Blank — but the price tag will go past the budgeted $1.4 billion.
The stadium is a massive project on many levels — construction began way back in 2014, and you can see how large and cutting-edge the facility is in Zach Spedden’s preview — and while plenty of lead time was allowed for the project, delays in these situations aren’t uncommon. From the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:
Blank attributed the delay to the design process for the steel structure that will support the stadium’s complex retractable roof and massive video board.
He said the delay will add to the cost of the $1.4 billion project but declined to say how much. He said he’ll bear the additional cost, as required by his stadium deal with the city and state….
The delay stems from two of the stadium’s signature features: an eight-piece retractable roof that is supposed to open and close in seven minutes and a 58-foot-high oval video board incorporated into the roof opening.
As noted, the delay to a June 1, 2017 opening won’t affect the NFL season: exhibition games are always in August, with the regular season beginning in September. It will, however, impact Blank’s plans to play MLS soccer in the new stadium. The MLS season begins in March, and a June opening means the team will either play the first half of the season on the road or find a temporary home facility.
The delay also means more money out of Blank’s pocket, as the stadium agreement puts him responsible for cost overruns. The $1.4 billion price tag has already been estimated to rise past $1.5 billion, but there’s no estimate yet about how much the latest delays will affect the project’s bottom line.
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