Construction issues have delayed the opening of Mercedes-Benz Stadium for a third time.
Steve Cannon, CEO of Atlanta Falcons parent company AMB Group, said Tuesday that the opening will be pushed back from July 30, when an Atlanta United soccer match was to have been played in the new stadium, to Aug. 26, when a Falcons pre-season game is scheduled to be played there.
Cannon also confirmed that “decommissioning” and demolition of the Georgia Dome have been put on hold “until we are 100 percent certain of achieving our certificate of occupancy.”
“This really does represent an insurance policy,” he said. “We do not expect to use the Georgia Dome whatsoever.”
The $1.5 billion retractable-roof stadium was originally scheduled to open on March 1. That was pushed back to June 1 and then pushed back again to July 30.
Cannon said the latest delay disclosed Tuesday was driven by “steel work that is taking longer than we anticipated” in the roof and an analysis of the construction timeline from this point forward.
He said AMB Group’s expectation is that the roof will be fully operable when the stadium opens.
But Cannon acknowledged that the eight roof petals have required some extra work to make them fit.
“You install a shim that closes a gap or addresses a gap,” he said. “So yes, there was a shimming process that took place, normal seal work on a project of this size and complexity. We have completed all of that work. … It went very well. And now we’re moving on.”
He said the roof is currently about three-fourths installed and that later Tuesday or Wednesday the plan is to move the petals to the open position and begin installing the “tips.”
Cannon said the plan now calls for the stadium to open with Falcons’ pre-season games vs. Arizona on Aug. 26 and vs. Jacksonville on Aug. 31.
He said the Chick-fil-A Kickoff college-football games Sept. 2 and 4 are still scheduled for the new stadium.
Under the latest revised schedule, Atlanta United’s match previously scheduled for July 30 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium will be played at Georgia Tech’s Bobby Stadium on July 29. Two Atlanta United games that had been scheduled for Mercedes-Benz Stadium in August will be rescheduled by Major League Soccer for later dates in the new stadium, Cannon said.