Having secured an agreement with Friendship Baptist Church to buy their property for $19.5 million, Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed said he believes there is a “70 percent chance” that the city will clear the final remaining hurdle to moving forward on the stadium’s so-called south site by also coming to terms with Mount Vernon Baptist Church.
Both Friendship and Mount Vernon, two of Atlanta’s oldest churches, are built on land where the city wants to build the Falcons new $1 billion retractable roof stadium. Reed said he prefers the south site, located at the corner of Martin Luther King Jr. Dr. and Northside Dr., because of its proximity to two MARTA stations and the Georgia World Congress Center.
On Monday he told reporters that the deal would be closed in the “next five to seven” business days and on Tuesday night in an exclusive interview with the Daily World, the mayor seemed confident in getting his desired spot.
“I think the conversations are going well, there’s good energy,” Reed said. “I’d say there’s probably a 70 percent chance that we come to an agreement.”
Reed was at a kickoff event for Who’s Who in Black Atlanta’s upcoming 15th edition at Frank Ski’s Restaurant in Buckhead, but took a moment to discuss the latest on the stadium.
The mayor has stepped in and enlisted the help of former Atlanta mayor and UN Ambassador Andrew Young for negotiations after the Georgia World Congress Center Association failed to come to an agreement with Mount Vernon.
The Falcons have until Oct. 1 to conduct feasibility studies on the north stadium site if a deal cannot be reached with Mount Vernon, but both Reed and Falcons owner Arthur Blank have made clear they want to announce a location within a week to stay on track for the stadium to open in time for the 2017 season.
“There’s always fluff built into these schedules,” Blank told the AJC in an August interview. “That fluff is really gone and [the architects and construction teams] are starting to face real dates.”
Last month, Reed announced that the church was seriously considering a $15.5 million offer from the city after rejecting its initial tender of $6.2 million. On Monday, Reed told reporters, “We’ll either close [the deal], or we won’t, over the next five to seven days.”
Reed added that private money “has materialized,” but said that he was not prepared to discuss where that private money would come from or the specifics of a possible deal.