Atlanta Project Gives Architect Another Shot at Retractable Roof

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(from Sports Business Journal, April 29, 2013) The Atlanta Falcons are set to build a new football stadium and the team has chosen 360 Architecture to design the new stadium. This will give sports architect Bill Johnson, 360’s lead designer, another chance at developing an NFL facility with a retractable roof. Johnson was involved in the firm’s design of the New York Jets stadium, Metlife Stadium. Johnson had originally planned on constructing a retractable roof in the $2.2 billion development in lower Manhattan. However, the retractable roof was never built, because the New York State Public Authorities Control Board in 2005 refused to approve the project. As a result the state could not contribute its half of the $600 million in public money designated for the stadium. According to 360 officials, the new stadium was tied to New York’s bid to host the 2012 Olympics and was fully designed at the time the deal fell through. The Jets then joined the New York Giants to privately fund the construction of MetLife Stadium.

In Atlanta, the construction of the new stadium includes $700 million in fixed construction costs to build a stadium that will hold approximately 66,000 to 72,000 people. Johnson is very familiar with the Atlanta area and the city’s sports landscape after designing the Olympic Stadium for the 1996 Summer Games. He also helped work on the post-Olympics stadium of the same building that was later renamed to Turner Field, which became the home of the Atlanta Braves in 1997. At that time, Johnson worked with Ellerbe Becket, now AECOM. Johnson does have experience with building a retractable roof. He worked on the development of Chase Field in Phoenix, home of the Arizona Diamondbacks. As of last week, the deal was pending a signed contract with the Georgia World Congress Center Authority, which is the landlord for the proposed stadium.