Redskins

College Football Hall to break ground in Atlanta

College Football Hall to break ground in Atlanta

ATLANTA (AP) Groundbreaking for the new College Football Hall of Fame in Atlanta will be Jan. 28 and the facility is scheduled to open in the fall of 2014.

The site is in the Centennial Olympic Park area downtown near the Georgia Dome and World Congress Center. The museum is expected to attract around 500,000 visitors per year, according to studies by Atlanta Hall Management.

The public-private project has a price tag of $66.5 million, with the 94,256-square-feet hall facility costing $54 million.

The National Football Foundation announced three years ago that the hall was moving to Atlanta from South Bend, Ind. But fundraising issues forced several delays in the project, which was once expected to open in 2012.

The hall in South Bend closed Sunday after 17 years and memorabilia will be held in storage until the new facility is ready.

``The timeline isn't what we hoped, but we always thought that Atlanta was the perfect place for the hall,'' NFF president and CEO Steve Hatchell said. ``Everyone worked very hard on this and we're excited about what is ahead.''

Most of the funds for the museum itself are being privately raised. The agreement between the NFF and Atlanta is for 30 years.

One of the backers is Chick-fil-A and the announcement of the groundbreaking was made just hours before the annual Chick-fil-A Bowl.

``The economy set the project back,'' said John Stephenson, president and CEO of Atlanta Hall Management. ``We're very appreciative of the support we were able to get to make this happen.''

Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal and Atlanta mayor Kasim Reed attended the announcement Monday, as did Archie Manning, chairman of the NFF.

``Atlanta is football. Georgia is football,'' Reed said. ``We got this done and we're going to be a good home.''

The hall will be near the World of Coca-Cola, the Georgia Aquarium and the future National Center for Civil and Human Rights.

Although the projected attendance average of 500,000 is well more than five times what the hall was attracting in South Bend, Stephenson said that he is confident in the figure.

``The World of Coca-Cola draws 1.2 million and the Aquarium 2.4 million,'' he said.

The hall will be highly interactive - and that is a must, said Gov. Deal, noting that it is children who determine where their parents stop while on vacation.

The South Bend hall was projected to attract 200,000 visitors when it moved from Ohio in 1995. But it drew about 115,000 the first year and about 60,000 annually after that.

The Atlanta facility will feature historic and contemporary artifacts, interactive multimedia displays, children's activities, a theater and meeting facilities. It will also connect to the World Congress Center.

The hall is expected to have a significant economic impact on downtown Atlanta, with a projected $11.8 million in taxable sales from tickets, retail and events.

``I know firsthand the passion of Southern football fans and Atlanta will be the ideal location for the new hall of fame,'' Manning said.

Quick Links

Redskins Superlatives: Two tremendous leaders earn the Most Likely to Become President Award

Redskins Superlatives: Two tremendous leaders earn the Most Likely to Become President Award

This week, JP Finlay and Pete Hailey will be handing out Redskins Superlatives as they continue to preview the 2020 season.

Next up: They give their Most Likely to Become President Award to a fan favorite and the franchise's newest leader.

JP's pick: Terry McLaurin

There is nothing Terry McLaurin can't do and he's got my vote for president should he ever decide to run. Beyond the breakout rookie year, the precise route running and his blazing speed, McLaurin talks like a 10-year veteran.

This offseason has been hard for everyone, but McLaurin explained things better than most: "Football is what I love to do. I can’t think of a better blessing in my life to be playing the game that I love. When you get through the course of such a long NFL season and you get to the end, it’s like man, I’m ready for that break. That burning desire is still inside of you to continue to get better and continue to improve. Now with us having a new staff, we’re just all looking forward to being on the field again. I feel like sports is something that this country needs as well. The camaraderie of it, the togetherness that it brings."

Put McLaurin on the ballot — but ideally after a 15-year career with a whole lot of postseason success.

CLICK HERE TO SUBSCRIBE TO THE REDSKINS TALK PODCAST

Pete's pick: Ron Rivera

JP and I didn't go to school together — that's because he's a LOT OLDER than me — but if we did, it would've been a surprise if we ever got an A-plus on the same assignment. In fact, it would've been a huge surprise, and perhaps an impossibility.

But in this instance, we're both getting an A-plus. He nailed his pick, and I'm nailing mine. 

Ron Rivera hasn't been with the Redskins long, and due to this unusual offseason, the media hasn't gotten to hang around him much in person, aside from his introductory press conference in January and some time at the Combine. 

Even so, we have still talked to him plenty on Zoom, and in all of those instances, I've been floored by his leadership, his intelligence and his perspective on everything, both football-related topics and topics that relate more to life overall. 

RELATED: RIVERA ON NOT SIGNING CAM NEWTON

At this point, I'm pretty much convinced every company or group in the world would be better with Rivera involved. He's fair, he's level-headed and he simultaneously gives and commands respect. 

For now, Rivera's just in the running for an NFC East title, but if he ever sets his sights on running for office, he'll have one mediocre blogger on his side.

Stay connected to the Redskins with the MyTeams app. Click here to download for comprehensive coverage of your teams.

MORE REDSKINS NEWS

Today's Live Sports: July 2

Today's Live Sports: July 2

Baseball

5:25 a.m. – Korea Baseball Organization: Doosan Bears vs. Kiwoom Heroes (ESPN)

Rugby

5:30 a.m. – NRL Rugby: Melbourne Storm vs. Sydney Roosters (FS1)

Soccer

12:55 p.m. – Premier League Stadium: Sheffield United vs. Tottenham (NBCSN)

3:10 p.m. – Premier League Stadium: Manchester City vs. Liverpool (NBCSN)

Golf

3:00 p.m. – PGA Tour Golf: 2020 Rocket Mortage Classic (Golf)

Boxing

8:00 p.m. – Top Rank Boxing: Jose Pedraza (26-3, 13 KOs) vs. Mikkel LesPierre (22-1-1, 10 KOs) (junior welterweights) (ESPN)

MORE NEWS