Ahead of schedule, the Atlanta Falcons have converted construction loans for Mercedes-Benz Stadium into long-term financing.
The Falcons were seeking to convert loans for Mercedes-Benz Stadium into a more permanent package, but did not anticipate being able to do so until the facility opens next year. Now, however, the team has reached an agreement for $850 million in financing that includes funds from a combination of banks and private investors.
The main financial institutions backing the plan are Bank of America and SunTrust, while private investors contributed the rest. According to estimates from Falcons executive vice president and chief financial officer Greg Beadles, Bank of America and SunTrust’s contributions combine for 1/3, with the other investors covering the rest of the financing.
Mercedes-Benz Stadium is a private/public partnership that includes bonds backed by the City of Atlanta through its hotel/motel tax and funds from the NFL, with the total cost of the stadium projected to be $1.5 billion. By converting their loans ahead of schedule, the Falcons feel that they will be left in better financial shape. More from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:
“The timing of getting this done early … speaks really well of the project overall,” Beadles said. “Typical of what we had modeled was for the permanent financing to take place after the construction was done (in 2017) and maybe even into the operation (of the stadium) a few months.
“We let the banks (and) these institutional investors take a peek under the hood and so think of it as some outside validation on what we’re doing from the marketplace that is familiar with these kind of projects and deals. They came back resoundingly and said, ‘We feel great about the project … and can move forward with this permanent financing.’ So that is what we chose to do.”
The financing, which closed late last week, involves the Falcons organization’s portion of stadium costs and does not affect the taxpayer portion of the funding.
“I’m very pleased to see this significant milestone being reached so early,” Falcons owner Arthur Blank said in a prepared statement. “… What the team has accomplished puts the project in a very strong position moving forward.”
Under this plan, the Falcons will repay the debt using money from sources such as major sponorships, suites, and naming rights.
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