Plans have been unveiled for a new 13-acre greenspace near Mercedes-Benz Stadium in the US city of Atlanta.
The stadium is due to open later this year and will serve as the home of NFL American football team the Atlanta Falcons, and Major League Soccer expansion franchise Atlanta United.
The greenspace will be developed on the site of the nearby Georgia Dome stadium, the Falcons’ former home. The space will be used for game day parking, arts and culture events, entertainment and community activation, and will open in 2018.
The space will be known as The Home Depot Backyard through an agreement with US home improvement retailer The Home Depot, which is headquartered in Atlanta.
“While we have stores across the country, Atlanta is our hometown,” Craig Menear, chairman, chief executive and president of The Home Depot, said. “We are proud today to share our long-term commitment to both Mercedes-Benz Stadium and our neighbours in the Westside. Fans and community members are going to have the best backyard in sports.
“Beyond the stadium, we continue to work with partners like the Atlanta Beltline, Habitat for Humanity, HouseProud and many others to revitalise outdoor spaces and perform critical home repairs in the Westside – part of our commitment to giving back to our communities.”
The space will offer unique experiences for Falcons and United fans on match days and will be used for other entertainment purposes. The space will also include play areas and fun activities.
Arthur Blank, owner of the Falcons and United, added: “Mercedes-Benz Stadium will be one of the finest sports and entertainment venues in the world, and more importantly, a catalyst for transformation in the surrounding neighbourhoods of Atlanta’s historic Westside.
“The Home Depot is a natural partner for us to create a space that will drive connectivity and community engagement, key elements of the core values that we share. We are proud to be working together to bring the Westside to downtown and all of Atlanta.”
The opening date of Mercedes-Benz Stadium was recently pushed back by almost a month, with the Falcons now scheduled to christen the venue with a pre-season fixture against the Arizona Cardinals on August 26.
United had been due to open the stadium on July 30 with an MLS game against Orlando City, but complications with the construction of the venue’s roof have led to the delay.
United fans have been left angered by the delay, with many having purchased season tickets for the team’s debut MLS campaign on the assumption that the team would move into the 71,000-capacity facility in July. The MLS season began last month and will be nearing its conclusion by the time United plays its first game at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.