Atlanta either buying church site for Falcons or not buying church site for Falcons

Stop the presses! Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed says that he’s found the money to buy Mount Vernon Baptist Church so that it can be relocated to make way for a new Falcons stadium. Or some of the money, anyway. He won’t say how much, or where it came from, or really much of anything:

The private money “has materialized,” Reed said. “I’m not prepared to discuss it yet. But we’re much closer on the Mt. Vernon transaction.”

Reed wouldn’t say whether the new private money is coming from the Atlanta Falcons. A Falcons spokeswoman did not respond to an email requesting comment.

An attorney for Mt. Vernon, Bill Montgomery, wouldn’t comment except to say that he is “cautiously optimistic” about the discussions to sell the church. Reed echoed that.

“I think in five to seven days we have to get a deal, or we don’t. And at that point, I’ll be fine with supporting the north site if we’re unable to come to an agreement,” Reed said.

I guess stay tuned. But not for more than five to seven days.

2 comments on “Atlanta either buying church site for Falcons or not buying church site for Falcons

  1. Given the size of the project, the difference between what Mount Vernon wanted and what was offered was really small. This seemed to be more of an issue of ego for the mayor who wanted to strut in with a stadium deal, be unquestioned, and then hailed as a great visionary. It hasn’t quite worked out that way and he seemed to be getting quite testy. A few weeks of cooling his heels apparently has made him realize that if he wants to bulldoze the church, calling them greedy for not selling at the maximum price the state is allowed to offer wasn’t very productive. So now the money has materialized just like it could have on day one.

    The biggest obstacle appears to still be Friendship Baptist. They’ve agreed to sell* but only if the city finds them a new site nearby. The city offered them part of Morris Brown College, which is currently in bankruptcy. Unfortunately Morris Brown wasn’t consulted first and has their own plans for selling the land the city wants for relocating the church at a much higher price than the city was willing to offer. Morris Brown isn’t due back in court until October 7th while the Falcons site selection deadline is October 1st. Unless eight or nine more million can “materialize” for the city to outbid the developer who offered to buy the Morris Brown land, there is no relocation site for Friendship Baptist. Which brings us to the * next to Friendship agreeing to sell. The leadership of Friendship Baptist has agreed but it has to be approved by the congregation. That’s not a given unless a relocation spot is found very close by.

    Too bad this is all an issue of where the stadium is going to be located instead of one of if the stadium is going to be built.