Source: Falcons' Announcement On Stadium Site Awaits Completion Of Legal Documents
A formal announcement that the new Falcons stadium "will be built on a site just south of the Georgia Dome will be made after legal documents are completed, including signed contracts with the two churches that voted to sell their property to make room for the facility," according to a source cited by Tim Tucker of the ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION. The source said that the announcement "is likely within a week or so, barring unforeseen developments." Also near completion are "contracts among the Falcons, the GWCCA and the city that are more detailed than the memorandum of understanding signed in April and an environmental study of the site." The contracts, due to "be done by Oct. 1, are to include site-specific issues." The GWCCA also is "attempting to acquire several other tiny parcels of land needed to complete the south site, but that process isn’t expected to be finished soon or to hold up site selection." Estimates "vary on how many additional parcels are needed, ranging from two to six." The GWCCA has "left open the option of using eminent domain to acquire the parcels if deals aren’t reached with landowners" (ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION, 9/24).
ANSWERED PRAYERS? YAHOO SPORTS' Jay Busbee wrote, "Knocking down a church for a football team carries symbolic weight, especially in the South." Factor in the fact that Friendship Baptist Church "dates to the Reconstruction and hosted in its basement the initial meetings of what would become Morehouse College, and you've got the makings of a full-on collision of history and progress, with faith and football thrown in for good measure." Friendship and Mount Vernon Baptist each "eyed the other, gauging the other's progress in negotiations, neither wanting to settle too early or miss out on a potential windfall." Busbee: "Did the Falcons take advantage of the churches? You could argue that. You could also argue that the churches fleeced the Falcons and the city of Atlanta; there's no way on God's green earth that those churches would have earned such sums had it been, say, a Wal-Mart looking to set up shop." With their "new millions, and some wise real estate investment, the churches could come out just fine in this arrangement." Friendship BOT President Lloyd Hawk on Sunday said, "We weren't going to make a decision based on what a football team needed. And quite frankly that was the least of our concerns in the decision" (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 9/23).