• Eminent domain could be used to build Falcons stadium

    By: Craig Lucie


    ATLANTA, Ga. - Eminent domain could be used after all to the build the Falcons billion-dollar stadium.

    Even though the churches have agreed to a deal, there are still six other properties that need to be acquired for the stadium to be built on the south site.

    The majority of the six properties are under or near the Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard overpass. They are mostly parking areas and have been overlooked due to the agreements with the two Baptist churches.

    The properties are less than 2 acres combined. One of them has a billboard on the land.

    Eminent domain allows the state to seize private property without the owner's consent.

    When Channel 2's Craig Lucie asked the city of Atlanta about the six properties, they referred us to the Georgia World Congress Center Authority.

    Lucie asked the GWCC to get the exact locations for the six properties and who they belong to. Their spokeswoman, Jen LeMaster, sent an email stating, "As these are active property negotiations, we cannot discuss any details."

    Channel 2 Action News knows who the owner is for at least one of the properties, but we were not able to reach him Wednesday.

    The owner has revealed in the past though that he will turn over the land.

    Mayor Kasim Reed recently said negotiations went well with the churches.

    "We never used the eminent domain tactic or threat and we came to what, by all opinions that I'm aware of, is a fair arrangement, so I feel terrific," Reed said.
    Reed made that statement after sealing a deal with Friendship Baptist Church and Mt. Vernon Baptist Church worth $34 million combined.

    Lucie asked the GWCC if they will have to exercise eminent domain.

    "No, we have not ruled that out. We hope we can reach a fair market value deal, but if we can't, condemnation is a possibility," LeMaster wrote in her email.

    Oct. 1 is the deadline for the Falcons to say that they have chosen the south site as their stadium location. Channel 2 Action News will be watching to see what deals are struck to acquire the land near MLK Boulevard.

    Next Up: