Church Leaders Back in Stadium Talks With City of Atlanta

3:22 PM, Jul 9, 2013   |    comments
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ATLANTA (WXIA) -- Leaders of Friendship Baptist Church are back at the negotiating table with the city of Atlanta over selling their property for the new Falcons stadium.

Church spokesman Lloyd Hawk confirmed both sides met last week.

"It was a very positive meeting and we will be scheduling future meetings. We're trying for this week," Hawk said.

The city has an August 1 deadline so stadium architects can move forward with detailed plans for the south site.

This is a big development given the last volley from the city. Atlanta COO Duriya Farooqui sent an internal memo to the mayor that said, "Friendship Church has not yielded a resolution and no further delays can be absorbed."

Attached to the memo was a sketch that shifts the new stadium literally right next to Friendship Baptist Church. Only a row of trees would separate the buildings, and a portion of Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive would be wiped out.

According to Mayor Kasim Reed, a number of figures have gone back and forth between his office and the church.

"Friendship Baptist Church received an offer of 13.5 million. I think they countered with 24.5 million. We can't afford that so we sent back an offer of 15.5 million dollars," he said.

Meantime, a design has been picked for the stadium. It will have 11 sides and an eight-piece roof that twists open like the aperture of a camera. One side of the stadium will provide a clear, polymer wall to show the downtown buildings.

There's another church that has also been approached about selling its property. Mount Vernon Baptist Church is negotiating with the state and sources say those talks have been much less contentious.

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