Arthur Blank: Falcons focused on downtown stadium


And now for the latest in the high-stakes staring contest between the Falcons and the city of Atlanta over a new stadium, courtesy of team owner Arthur Blank:

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"We have a very good partnership with the Georgia World Congress Center, and we want that to continue into the future," Blank said in a statement released by the team Saturday. "As a business, it is our responsibility to consider all of our options, but in this case, we are not making any alternate plans at this time.

"We are focusing all of our time and resources on finalizing an agreement for the new stadium in downtown Atlanta. We appreciate Mayor (Kasim) Reed's strong support in helping us stay downtown, which is the right place for us to be."

Blank's statement comes after Falcons president and CEO Rich McKay told city council members on Wednesday that the Falcons could be forced to look in the greater Atlanta area if they cannot come to an agreement with the city. Blank has been open in his wish to remain in Atlanta, but the Falcons will be done playing in the Georgia Dome when their lease expires in 2017.

The Falcons negotiated a deal for a $948 million stadium with a retractable roof that must be approved by the city, according to Various reports put the city's contribution between $200 million to $300 million.

Earlier this month, Blank laughed off a report that the Falcons could be a candidate to move to Los Angeles when their lease expires.

Follow Dan Hanzus on Twitter @DanHanzus.