State calls off negotiations after church refuses $6.2 million offer in stadium deal

by: Jim Strickland Updated:

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ATLANTA - Channel 2 Action News has learned the Georgia World Congress Center Authority has officially broken off negotiations with Mt. Vernon Baptist Church over building the new Atlanta Falcons Stadium.

Channel 2 consumer investigator Jim Strickland obtained documents through an Open Records Request that show the state offered Mt. Vernon Baptist Church $6.2 million for its property at the corner of Martin Luther King Jr. Drive and Haines Street, and severed talks after the church rejected the offer.

The development renders moot talks between the City of Atlanta and Friendship Baptist Church, which had already rejected a $15.5 million offer to be funded by team owner Arthur Blank.

"If you know a buyer really needs your property, you're going to try to get as much as you can for it. But the downside for a seller in that situation is if you ask too much and it's unfeasible, the buyer's going to go in a different direction," said commercial real estate broker Michael Bull.

Bull said he would have advised Friendship to have accepted Blank's offer.

"If the Falcons have offered $15-and-a-half million, that's a very gracious offer. If I was advising Friendship, I'd say take it and run," Bull said.

Aug. 1 was a deadline set by the Falcons to determine whether the south side site was feasible.

"A buyer has to move on. They've got timelines to get this stadium done, and the sellers may miss it," said Bull.

Building on the alternative site on state-owned land north of the Georgia Dome has costs of its own for the Falcons.

A state consultant said relocating the marshaling yards upon which the new stadium would sit would cost $35 million, and moving large power transmission lines would be another $25 million.

The Mayor's Office offered no comment on Thursday's developments.

The Falcons offered nothing further than the statement Tuesday in which they deemed the south site "not feasible."      



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