Atlanta’s new Mercedes-Benz Stadium’s construction has fallen behind schedule and its opening has been pushed to June 1, 2017, according to Tim Tucker of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. As a result, the new Major League Soccer team Atlanta United FC will not be able to begin play there in March, as initially planned.
Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank attributed his teams’ new stadium’s delays to the design process of steel structure that will support both the retractable roof and video board. The delay will increase the cost of the $1.4 billion project, a cost that Blank must cover per his agreement with the city and state of Georgia.
This means that though the Falcons will be able to play in their new home in time for the NFL season, Atlanta United FC could be forced to scramble for a new home. MLS’s season begins in early March and runs through October, meaning that the new team could be forced to play a majority of its inaugural season on the road, with which Blank is fine.
The owner further elaborated.
“It’s a complex building,” Blank said. “Particularly, the steel is complicated; the roof is complicated; the halo scoreboard is complicated. The design drawings leading up to fabrication and eventually erection (of the steel structure) took longer than anybody expected because of the complexity.”
“What happens is … (subcontractors) have to work double-time, triple-time, whatever it may be,” he said. That will result in additional costs, which Blank said he has agreed to pay, although “I don’t know what the final numbers will be.” All cost overruns are the Falcons’ responsibility, according to the stadium deal.
“That is risk I assumed going into the project and one that I’m supporting,” Blank said.
In terms of a possible redesign, Blank was blunt.
“There will be no compromise at all,” he said. “It’s going to be a unique, one-of-a-kind stadium.”
Stay tuned to Campus Sports for further updates on Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
*Featured Photo (above) credit to the Atlanta Falcons