Falcons advance in planning process for open-air stadium

ATLANTA -- The Atlanta Falcons and Georgia World Congress Center Authority will enter into a "memo of understanding" -- the next step toward a new, open-air stadium for the NFL team.

Both sides say the agreement does not constitute a done deal, but it allows them to begin discussions about the business relationship that would be involved in whatever plan is developed.

Falcons officials have said they want a new open-air stadium rather than an expanded Georgia Dome or adding a retractable roof to that facility.

Preliminary plans for a new stadium call for 65,000 permanent seats, 10,000 temporary seats, 7,500 club seats and 110 suites. The cost is estimated at $700 million.

Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press

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