Falcons shift focus for new stadium to north site

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ATLANTA - Atlanta Falcons officials said Tuesday the preferred south site for a new Falcons stadium at the corner of Northside Drive and Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard is "not feasible."

Officials told Channel 2's Craig Lucie they're now turning their attention to the north site at Northside Driver and Ivan Allen Jr. Boulevard.

Stadium officials are calling the latest development disappointing.

One of the big reasons behind the change has to deal with not reaching a deal with Mount Vernon Baptist Church and Friendship Baptist Church.

The Falcons hoped to work out a deal with both churches. Since that has not happened yet, the board put in motion a plan so they can look into building the stadium on the other side of the Georgia Dome.

It was a quick vote with no questions asked about moving forward with plans to build the billion-dollar stadium north of the Georgia Dome.

"It means we are going to focus all the attention on the north side," said Georgia World Congress Center Executive Director Frank Poe.

The vote came when the Falcons sent a letter to the Georgia World Congress Center Authority saying the south site is "not feasible for a number of reasons including that the Mount Vernon Baptist Church and the Friendship Baptist Church properties and other necessary parcels have not been acquired. And that Stadco has been unable to complete environmental and other required testing on these properties."

One of the concerns for the north site is massive power lines. They would have to relocated and take a look at how big they are.Traffic and environmental studies will have to be conducted as well.

"There's some environmental issues. There's 6 acres of property under a containment cap," Poe said.

Michael Koblentz has attended all of the recent board meetings to be the voice for neighborhoods affected by the stadium.

He has a message for the Falcons and thinks the south site is the only real feasible option.

"We need a little more time. Just come back to the table that to Mr. Blank," Koblentz said.

The deadline to have a deal finalized with the two churches is Thursday. Lucie spoke with a representative from Friendship Baptist Church who said they are still negotiating and its going well.