ATLANTA – Although it was believed that after the Georgia Dome’s demolition was complete the space would be used for additional parking for Mercedes-Benz, Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank announced on Friday that the space is going to be converted into a green space that doubles up as a parking lot on game days. 

Home Depot, who will be sponsoring this new development that is going to be named “The Home Depot Backyard”, and Mercedes-Benz Stadium are collaborating to put in a new green space where the Georgia Dome stands today. 

Blank told 11Alive that on game days, the “Backyard” will be used for parking.

“During game days, when we’re going to have 71,000 folks in the building, that area will be a tailgating parking area. It’s the other 300 days a year, we find many stadiums across the nation where they are– when the stadiums are great, they’re great. When the stadiums are filled, they’re filled. When they’re empty, they’re empty. We want this whole area to be alive when there’s no activity within the stadium,” he said. 

Blank said the area would provide for roughly 770 parking and tailgating spots.

The new 13-acre space will cost $55 million. It will open in 2018, in time for Super Bowl LIII at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

In addition to the green space, there will be a 30,000 square foot terrace that will offer a 360-degree view of Atlanta’s skyline and, of course, the new Mercedes-Benz Stadium. There will also be a new high rise 4-star hotel that will cost $400 million, and agreements with a developer are underway. This should add more than a 100,00 new attendees per year for future events.

Another project mentioned were upgrades to Centennial Olympic Park where another 3 acres of green space will be added.

The “Backyard” is a strategic way to keep the area around the stadium buzzing everyday of the year and not just on event days. It also serves as a connection to the West End, or Vine City, and is part of a bigger project of revitalizing the area that has has been one of the more marginalized neighborhoods in Atlanta.

“If we do that and are unsuccessful of being part of the revitalization of the west side, then we’ve failed,” Blank told 11Alive, adding the revitalization has always been just as important to him as constructing the $1.6 billion stadium. The Home Depot has partnered with the Atlanta Beltline, Habitat for Humanity, HouseProud and many others as a way to give back the the area just west of the stadium.

Mayor Kasim Reed stressed how the city is trying to control displacement in the area and provide services such as financial services center and a cap on property taxes for 20 years for residents in…