Atlanta mayor weighs in on possibility of Falcons move to L.A. - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

Atlanta mayor weighs in on possibility of Falcons move to L.A.

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ATLANTA -

The mayor of Atlanta talked to FOX 5 on Tuesday about the possibility of the Falcons taking off to Los Angeles.

Mayor Kasim Reed says owner Arthur Blank is willing to increase his investment to pay for a new home for the team.
    
The mayor says there is a firm pledge by Blank to keep the football team in downtown Atlanta. But the mayor also confirmed he advised council members that business executives in Los Angeles would love to convince Blank that he should fly the birds out west.

"There are multiple business groups, ownership groups, in Los Angeles that are actively to place a team in Los Angeles and they're willing to pay a heck of lot more than $200 million for that opportunity," Reed told FOX 5's Morse Diggs in a phone interview on Tuesday.

Reed stressed that the Falcons never presented any ultimatums to the city.

"We have an owner who is committed to the city of Atlanta and when I met with Council, I never said anything but that he was committed to Atlanta," Reed said.
    
The mayor said he simply told local lawmakers it is time for a "reality check," and that supporting a reasonable public commitment is in the best interest of the city in the long term.

A preliminary plan that has been discussed calls for a new stadium to be built in Atlanta at a cost of around $1 billion, of which the Falcons would pay about $800 million. The team would also pay about $50 million to pay off debt on the Georgia Dome. The remaining $200 million would come from public funds, paid primarily from visitors through a hotel-motel tax extension.

Reed said that he wants an agreement for the public-private funding of a new home for the Falcons in 60 days.

"This is going to be well-debated but I'm not going to spend 60 or 90 or 120 days in this space, this is not complex," Reed said.

Blanks hopes to move into a new stadium by 2017.

What's the reaction in Los Angeles? Click here for an interview with KTTV's Liz Habib.

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