National News

Mercedes-Benz Stadium to open with certificate of occupancy

Posted August 16

— In less than two weeks, Atlanta's Mercedes Benz Stadium will open its doors to thousands of eager fans.

Stadium executive Stephen Cannon gave CBS46 a sneak peek inside just 11 days before the Atlanta Falcons take the field for the first time.

"We are going to be ready to open our doors and to welcome our guests, but there will be tweaks. We are at the very front end of operationalizing this building," Cannon said. "Once we begin, we're going to have, in our first 23 days, we're going to welcome more than half a million fans and guests into this building and our goal with every single one of them is to WOW them."

The field is down, the seats are in, the food vendors are ready, the skyline views are incredible and the one-of-a-kind halo scoreboard is operational.

"It's 1,100 ft. around. So that means if you cut it and stood it straight up, it's taller than the Bank of America building downtown. So that's crazy big," Atlanta Falcons President and CEO Rich McKay said.

CBS46 Sports Director Fred Kalil got a look inside the $1 billion building and was blown away.

"I think it's cool, you know the coolest thing for me is that halo board. I think that's really neat," Kalil said.

The only thing that doesn't seem to be completely ready for opening day is the state-of-the-art retractable roof, which will remain closed until further notice.

"It's functional, it's operational, it's not fully mechanized where it can close and open quick enough so we've got to work through that with a couple more construction moves," McKay said.

"Well you know the Georgia Dome was closed all the time, right, and nobody complained about that," Kalil said.

Construction delays with the roof are to blame, but stadium executives assured fans it will be fully functioning and open during games this fall.

"We'll get it done. I won't give you a date, but it will get done and get done sooner rather than later, and then we'll be good to go as far as being able to open it for a game and close it," McKay said.

It will take 40 days to test the timing of the roof and that will be done in between events. Stadium executives want to be able to open and close the roof within 11-minutes if weather becomes an issue.

Executives also said there are no safety concerns because the stadium received a certificate of occupancy.

Copyright 2017 WGCL-TV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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