Falcons President Rich McKay said, “Sembler and a number of developers contacted us many months back when GM put the site up for sale. I guess one of the concepts being floated by Sembler was a stadium development. We have had preliminary discussions with them.”...“The site in Doraville is a special location,” McKay said. “So we felt like it was something that we had to at least look at and see what’s being proposed. But right now it’s pretty preliminary.”
McKay obviously recognizes the investment the City of Atlanta has in keeping the Falcons downtown. Part of having the Falcons at the Georgia Dome is the other events the go on there - the Peach Bowl, the SEC Championship, SEC tournament, Final Fours, state football championships, etc. A new state-of-the-art stadium in Doraville would likely try and get all those events, too, and downtown would be missing a huge piece of convention-type business for hotels and businesses. Expect serious political opposition to this idea.
From a development perspective, this feels to me like Sembler is scrambling to find something that works for this Doraville site. All the other development groups have dropped out because now is a crappy time to be building anything, and you can't get anything financed anyway. Sembler is trying to think outside the box a bit, I guess to just keep things going. Sember certainly likes to dream big, but quite a few of their proposals have been politically tone deaf.