• Mayor: Deal in place to purchase second church for stadium

    By: John Bachman


    ATLANTA - An offer is on the table to put the new Falcons stadium south of the Georgia Dome, next to the Vine City MARTA station.

    Channel 2 Action News first reported that the City of Atlanta offered Mt. Vernon Baptist Church nearly $15 million to move and a place to rebuild at a Vine City park.

    Channel 2's John Bachman talked exclusively with Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed at a public appearance on Georgia State University's campus Thursday, who confirmed the new offer. Reed made it official on Friday at a news conference.

    The city has already offered $19.5 million to buy Friendship Baptist Church.

    However, plans to put the new stadium on the South site fell through when Mt. Vernon rejected a $6.2 million offer.

    Now, as the mayor confirmed for Channel 2 Action News, the city has upped that offer to $14.5 million.

    "My understanding is that their leadership has the offer. Their response has been favorable," Reed said.

    Talks with Mt. Vernon stopped when the church rejected $6.2 million from the state, an offer capped by law at the appraisal price.

    Reed said Friday the Atlanta Falcons have stepped up with an extra $8.3 million.

    "Fortunately, Mr. Blank and Falcons Organizaion support this concept, but we do have a construction schedule to meet. So, I think we have a good compromise right now, as long as we're able to come to an agreement in a very short fashion, I think we'll be able to get a deal done on the south site," Reed said.

    The mayor is cautiously optimistic. He said the Mt. Vernon congregation would vote on the offer next Thursday, Sept. 19.

    "If the churches decide it's not in their best interest to sell the church's property, then I will support the Falcons' decision to move to the north site and we will not revist the south site again," Reed said.

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