Mayor Reed turns down Friendship Baptist Church’s offer for a mediator

By Maria Saporta

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed has nixed the idea of meeting with all the parties interested in acquiring Friendship Baptist Church to make way for a new Atlanta Falcons stadium.

The mayor also does not want to have a mediator try to find a middle ground between what the City of Atlanta has offered to buy the church and the property and what Friendship believes it needs to relocate and rebuild in the Vine City community.

“We got a response back from the mayor, and the mayor has said he doesn’t want to have a mediation,” said Lloyd Hawk, chairman of Friendship’s board of trustees, on Monday afternoon. “He’s not willing to sit down at the table with everyone.”

The city negotiations to buy Friendship have been underway, off-and-on, for several months. Last week, Reed gave an interview to WXIA-TV sharing details of the negotiations, which caught the church by surprise.

Hawk had wanted to get the negotiations back on track by getting all the parties — the city, the Falcons and the Georgia World Congress Center — to sit around the same table until an agreement had been reached. He told all the parties involved that he had wanted to present a proposal to his congregation on June 30.

“We though we could have everyone at the table and get it resolved,” Hawk said. “We are disappointed the mayor was not willing to do that.”

Now Hawk is not sure about what the next step will be.

“We are sitting still,” Hawk said. “We are not going to respond to anything unless it’s in writing.”

Hawk said the mayor communicated to Friendship through his chief operating officer, Duriya Farooqui, who had contacted the church’s attorney. The mayor, however, does want to continue negotiating directly with the church.

“We have not closed the door,” Hawk said. “And we are not closing the door.”

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16 comments
ISAIAH ELLISON
ISAIAH ELLISON

All I know is Fifteen Million Dollars (S15000,000,00) can build a very nice church and feed a lot of people.  And that is a blessing.

ISAIAH ELLISON
ISAIAH ELLISON

All I know is Fifteen Million Dollars (S15000,000,00) can build a very nice church and feed a lot of people.  And that is a blessing.

EricaMorrisLong
EricaMorrisLong

So far, the Mayor won't sit down with Friendship Baptist Church and a trained, professional mediator and he refuses to allow Atlanta voters a say on the stadium deal.  Are the Mayor and Arthur Blank the only parties who deserve influence over this process?  

EricaMorrisLong
EricaMorrisLong

So far, the Mayor won't sit down with Friendship Baptist Church and a trained, professional mediator and he refuses to allow Atlanta voters a say on the stadium deal.  Are the Mayor and Arthur Blank the only parties who deserve influence over this process?

Atlanta Voter
Atlanta Voter

Friendship Baptist Church shouldn't sell out, especially after Kasim Reed has shown them such disrespect during this process.

Atlanta Voter
Atlanta Voter

Friendship Baptist Church shouldn't sell out, especially after Kasim Reed has shown them such disrespect during this process.

Nobantu
Nobantu

You should close the door. The value of Friendship is priceless! The history a long could never repay its worth. The ancestors who worked so hard to build this church are most likely in disbelief that the church would even consider selling. "Everything that shines ain't always gonna be gold"! 

Nobantu
Nobantu

You should close the door. The value of Friendship is priceless! The history a long could never repay its worth. The ancestors who worked so hard to build this church are most likely in disbelief that the church would even consider selling. "Everything that shines ain't always gonna be gold"!

Frankly
Frankly

ISAIAH ELLISON Preach!

Frankly
Frankly

@Atlanta Voter  

Disrespect them by offering $15 million for property valued at less than $1.5 million.  I wish the mayor would similarly disrespect me.

Frankly
Frankly

Atlanta Voter   Disrespect them by offering $15 million for property valued at less than $1.5 million.  I wish the mayor would similarly disrespect me.

Chip
Chip

@Frankly @Atlanta Voter Just so you can be informed the tax assessment is $1.6 million.  The market value is between $15-20 million

Chip
Chip

Frankly Atlanta Voter Just so you can be informed the tax assessment is $1.6 million.  The market value is between $15-20 million

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