Reed announces deal for sale of Friendship Baptist Church - FOX 10 News | myfoxphoenix.com

Reed announces $19.5M deal for Falcons to buy Friendship Baptist Church

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Mayor Kasim Reed announced the deal during a Tuesday morning press conference. Mayor Kasim Reed announced the deal during a Tuesday morning press conference.
ATLANTA -

Mayor Kasim Reed announced Tuesday that an agreement has been reached which will allow the Atlanta Falcons to purchase Friendship Baptist Church, paving the way for a new stadium to be built in that location if the team chooses to do so.  

At a press conference, Reed announced the church's board has accepted a $19.5 million offer to sell its property, if the team opts to build on the south site.  Reed said no city funds will be used to close the deal, and the Falcons will finance the cost of the property.

"I am pleased with the solid progress on the construction of a new stadium for the Atlanta Falcons in the heart of our city," said Mayor Reed in a statement. "Most important of all, we have kept our promise to treat the members of Friendship Baptist Church with dignity and respect and reach an agreement that is fair and reasonable for all parties. With both the south and north site as possible locations for the new stadium, factors such as transportation, neighborhood impact, and infrastructure needs can be better weighed and balanced."

The Falcons have been considering two sites, including the south site at Martin Luther King Drive and Northside Drive, for the new stadium's location.  The north site is at Ivan Allan Boulevard and Northside Drive, which is about a half-mile from the Georgia Dome and Vine City MARTA stations.  

Mayor Reed has expressed a strong preference for the south site because of its proximity to MARTA and the Georgia World Congress Center.  He said he is hopeful that the Georgia World Congress Center Authority will continue to work toward an agreement with Mount Vernon Baptist Church so that the Falcons can acquire the property necessary to build on the south site.

Reed said he hopes that the state will increase its efforts in sealing a deal with Mount Vernon. So far, the two sides are said to be far apart in a price.

"I think I have done enough in this process to ask that they try harder because that's what folks are asking me to do," Reed said.

The Falcons are now waiting on a feasibility study regarding building the new stadium just north of the dome.  General manager Rich McKay says they will continue to conduct due diligence on the north site option before a decision is made.  

"We commend Mayor Reed, city officials and the congregation of Friendship Baptist Church for all of their hard work in helping us reach a tentative agreement for the acquisition of the church property," McKay said in a statement. "The church property purchase price falls within the terms of the Memorandum of Understanding for the acquisition of property adjacent to the proposed south site for the new stadium. This is certainly a positive development for the south site."

Critics of the north site have complained about its distance from public transit.

"It needs to be in a place that is sustainable that it's not going to add traffic and congestion," Reed said.

State officials said they are willing to talk to Reed about the negotiations with Mount Vernon Baptist Church.

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