Arthur Blank: Mercedes-Benz Stadium on schedule to open 'late summer'
Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank said Tuesday that Mercedes-Benz Stadium is on track to open in the “late summer” and that crews are in the final months of construction.
ATLANTA -- Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank said Tuesday that Mercedes-Benz Stadium is on track to open in the “late summer” and that crews are in the final months of construction.
Reports had surfaced that the team had been informed by the Georgia World Congress Center Authority -- the body that will own the completed stadium -- that the stadium's roof was being "evaluated." 11Alive partners at the Atlanta Business Chronicle reported that issues with the metal panels in the roof had forced another delay for the stadium.
Blank told 11Alive on Tuesday that the roof is a complicated project that always presents issues.
“There's always an issue with the roof that's that complicated and large. It's not an issue, it's just a matter of complexity," Blank said. "A roof like that has never been built before. When you do build something in the world that's iconically unique, it does take more time, more schedule, it's more money, it's more of everything. We know the end product in Atlanta for the next 40 years is going to be worth it."
The $1.6 billion stadium was originally scheduled to be completed last month, but delays have pushed it back until June. The Atlanta United FC are slated to play their first match there on July 30.
Blank said all the events that are scheduled for the stadium are still on the books. However, he said that they are in the final “five months” of construction, which would suggest an opening in September. A spokesman for Blank later told 11Alive he misspoke, and that there are events on the books for August, like the NFL preseason announced on Monday.
MLS Commissioner Don Garber also mentioned MLS moving into Mercedes-Benz Stadium in September while speaking at Atlanta United FC’s opening of its training facility in Marietta. He later told the media he misspoke.
“When you speak as much as I do, September was a month I said that has no connection to exactly where we are. We are still focused on getting in as planned. The goal is to be into the stadium by late summer. So don’t read too much into my comments,” he said.
Blank said the construction schedule is compressed.
“When you get down to a project that size, you don't have any fluff left in the schedule,” Blank said. "At this point, we don't really have time. Everything's ...compressed now.”
Last week, Georgia Tech Athletics told 11Alive in a statement that there have been no discussions with Atlanta United about extending its current contract for Bobby Dodd Stadium.