SBD/August 19, 2013/Facilities

Falcons, Mount Vernon Baptist Church Closer To Deal For Land, But Gap Remains

A stadium on the south site might lead to more sponsorship sales for the Falcons
Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed on Friday said that Mount Vernon Baptist Church, located on the site south of the Georgia Dome for the proposed Falcons stadium, would "sell its property for $15.5 million instead of the $20.3 million that it has been asking," according to Saporta & Wenk of the ATLANTA BUSINESS CHRONICLE. However, the Georgia World Congress Center Authority has said that the "most it could offer, because of state law regarding the acquisition of property," is $6.2M. Reed said, "The gap has gone from about $14 million to about $8 million. I hope that’s enough progress for people to stay" at the table. Reed has been "pushing for the new stadium to be located on the south site because he believes it is a much better option for the city." It is located "between two MARTA stations, and it is adjacent to the GWCC convention center." But the "clock is ticking on the south site," as the Falcons already have "declared that the south site is not feasible because several properties had not been acquired" by an Aug. 1 deadline. The Falcons and GWCCA instead have "decided to focus their efforts" on a site north of the Georgia Dome, about a half-mile away. But Reed has "refused to give up on the south site" and on Friday acknowledged the "urgency of getting the deals done in the next five to 10 days." Reed: "Regarding the last $8 million, I'm working on it." Asked if Falcons Owner Arthur Blank might contribute the $8M, Reed said, "I haven't had a conversation with Arthur about this because if we couldn't change the tone, we aren't going anywhere" (BIZJOURNALS.com, 8/16).

PEACH PIT: Reed said that though there is no agreement yet, the lowered price is "movement in the right direction." In Atlanta, Katie Leslie noted anything above the $6.2M the state can offer must "come from private sources." The Falcons declined comment on "whether the team would consider contributing additional private dollars to make a deal" (ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION, 8/17). Also in Atlanta, Leslie & Tucker ask, "Where might the money come from?" Reed's "grand vision of a stadium connected to public transportation and new development teeters on finding an answer." The Falcons are the "obvious potential source of private funds," but have "not said whether they are willing to contribute additional money." Atlanta sports and marketing exec Bob Hope said that if the Falcons "put up more money to acquire the south site, the team might be able to make it back in sponsorship sales." Hope: "I think they would do much better on sponsorship sales on the south site than the north site because it would be part of an overall complex, with more synergy and energy." If a resolution "isn't reached," the $1B stadium "likely will be built" on the north site (ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION, 8/17).
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