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As Aug. 1 approaches, new Falcons stadium location shifting to north site

By Maria Saporta

Months ago, the Atlanta Falcons set an Aug. 1 deadline to determine whether the site south of the Georgia Dome would be a feasible option to build its new $1 billion retractable roof stadium.

But with Aug 1 only eight days away, little progress has been on the preferred south site.

The Georgia World Congress Center has not yet acquired Mount Vernon Baptist Church, which actually sits on what would be the footprint of the new stadium on the south site.

And the City of Atlanta has not yet reached a deal to acquire Friendship Baptist Church across Martin Luther King Jr. Drive, an acquisition that would be necessary so that the street could curve around an expanded south site for the stadium.

In light of that situation, the GWCC Authority’s Stadium Development Committee will be meeting Wednesday, July 24 to vote on a resolution to begin “due diligence work” on the north site.

The north site is located at the corner of Northside Drive and Ivan Allen Jr. Boulevard — about a half-mile north of the existing Georgia Dome and where the GWCC’s truck marshalling yard is located.

Originally the Atlanta Falcons had preferred the north site, but community consensus shifted the focus to the south because of its proximity to two MARTA stations and because it would be closer to the GWCC campus.

The south site also was viewed as having a greater opportunities of making the stadium part of downtown and the proposed multimodal station as well as the nearby Vine City and westside neighborhoods.

After the Atlanta Falcons selected its architectural team and developed a design concept for the new stadium, the team’s officials said that they had become fond of the south site and that they believed it would provide nice vistas of Atlanta’s downtown skyline.

Duriya Farooqui, chief operating officer for the City of Atlanta, did not comment on the situation in an email about the status of the south site.

Also, the GWCC officials repeated their policy that they do not comment on real estate negotiations.

It is unclear that if the GWCC committee and board approve the resolution to begin due diligence on the north site whether that means the south site is off the table or whether both sites are still under consideration.

The Aug. 1 deadline was set by the Atlanta Falcons so that the design and construction would stay on schedule so the new stadium would open in time for the 2017 football season.

Maria Saporta

Maria Saporta, Editor, is a longtime Atlanta business, civic and urban affairs journalist with a deep knowledge of our city, our region and state.  Since 2008, she has written a weekly column and news stories for the Atlanta Business Chronicle. Prior to that, she spent 27 years with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, becoming its business columnist in 1991. Maria received her Master’s degree in urban studies from Georgia State and her Bachelor’s degree in journalism from Boston University. Maria was born in Atlanta to European parents and has two young adult children.



  1. Jacob July 24, 2013 4:11 am

    Why no mention of the $940,000,000 in public money that is going to fund Arthur Blank’s new stadium?Report

    1. scorpianking July 24, 2013 10:01 am

      @Jacob please get your facts straight before commenting. he is NOT getting $940,000,000 in public money.  $200,000,000 is much less than what the “public” is going to reap for decades because of new business coming into Atlanta.  Atlanta is a world class city, and we deserve a world class stadium.  Jacob i am sure you will be one of the first to apply for new jobs that will be coming into the area.Report

    2. www www www July 24, 2013 11:27 am

      @Jacob Why no mention?
      Good question.
      My guess is because Saporta Report has lost any claim to being unbiased when it comes to the Falcons Stadium. They are actively working to make it happen.Report

      1. WolfandRhys July 24, 2013 11:49 am

        www www www What is Saporta supposed to do??? Ignore the developments of billion dollar project? Likewise, when the AJC reports on a murder, they are not endorsing murder…Report

        1. www www www July 24, 2013 12:03 pm

          WolfandRhys www www www “What is Saporta supposed to do???”
          If the site wants to be considered a legitimate news source, I’d expect them to present all of the facts.
          I haven’t seen that yet. We’re being presented with glorified press releases.Report

  2. FalconsFan July 24, 2013 6:34 am

    I think your math is wrong, the $940 million is the total cost, Mr Blank is putting up 70% of that but please don’t forget the number of businesses that will be feeding out of the construction trough.  If those church’s think they have Mr. Black over a barrel, then they are about to loose big money.Report

    1. moliere July 24, 2013 9:04 am

      FalconsFan It is only one church, Friendship Baptist. The other church agreed to sell and at a much fairer price almost immediately. What you have is the progress and benefit to the other church – and that entire economically depressed area – being blocked by Friendship.Report

    2. www www www July 24, 2013 11:25 am

      FalconsFan The public will be providing over half a billion in taxpayer funds over the life of the deal that Kasim Reed pushed through the City Council.

  3. moliere July 24, 2013 9:03 am

    Well, now Friendship Baptist gets nothing when they could have been compensated 7 times the actual fair market value for their land and facility, and now the area that they were supposed to be dedicated to helping financially will get almost nothing in terms of helpful economic development also. They’ll get the few million that the Arthur Blank Foundation and Invest Atlanta agreed to kick in so that the city council would approve the deal, which will help a little, but they won’t get the new infrastructure, development, housing, businesses etc. that would have come to that area had the preferred site been chosen. This will also lead to less positive economic impact downtown and for the city as a whole.
    Again, this isn’t about the desire of Friendship Baptist not to move in the interests of preserving tradition and history and their religious aims. They were more than willing to move. They just wanted more money, 12 times the market value of their land instead of 7. Now because of their greed, they get nothing, and the entire area that they claimed to be representing the interests of gets nothing of lasting value.
    This is exactly the type of mentality, the type of “leadership” that has Morris Brown unaccredited, bankrupt and about to sell their land to Family Dollar for even less than the city offered to pay Friendship Baptist. The sad thing is that Mount Vernon, who actually agreed to sell their land to the city at a reasonable because they actually want to see the area move forward and could have used the money from the sale to purchase a better facility for their congregation, gets held back by machinations of Friendship Baptist.Report

    1. www www www July 24, 2013 11:24 am

      moliere Your smear campaign against anyone/everyone who doesn’t want the public paying for this boondoggle is sad.
      Friendship Baptist has every right to teep their church and the land it stands on.
      If your boy Blank wants a new stadium so badly, let him pay to build it on land that he bought with his own money.Report

      1. WolfandRhys July 24, 2013 11:47 am

        www www www moliere They have every right to be hoisted by their own petard and lose out on a windfall for their church.
        I’m sure they are already grovelling and now saying they will accept the original offer,Report

        1. www www www July 24, 2013 12:04 pm

          WolfandRhys www www www moliere You’re sure? So that means when you’re proven to be wrong you’ll admit it, right?Report

  4. www www www July 24, 2013 9:04 am

    does saporta report get PR money from the falcons?
    why wouldn’t this story mention the public funding that will be paying for this stadium?Report

    1. moliere July 24, 2013 9:06 am

      www www www 
      Why does this project need PR? It is a done deal. Continuing to campaign against (or for) it at this stage is pointless, and so is airing sour grapes.Report

      1. www www www July 24, 2013 11:22 am

        Why does this project need public relations?
        Because of the fact that the majority of Atlantans don’t want to give half a billion in tax dollars to the Falcons to build a new stadium when the GA Dome isn’t even paid off yet.
        I’m guessing moliere is affiliated with Blank or the Falcons.Report

      2. www www www July 24, 2013 12:35 pm

        moliere “A recent poll found that only 15 percent of voters in Georgia believed the Falcons needed a new stadium and 75 percent opposed any public financing.”

  5. Warnin July 25, 2013 11:04 am

    I really don’t care where it goes.  It would be good if some housing projects and/or other thug breeding grounds were leveled to make room for it.  I am tickled that the attempt to blackmail the taxpayers by the “african churches” were thwarted.  I think the entire world is getting weary of “african blackmail” !  I am sure that Jesse and Al will drive their poverty pimp bus into Atlanta to tell us all how we have disrespected these two “churchs” and their greedy leadership.  Come on Jesse, come on Al, give the media are reason to really look at these two “churchs” and I think that you will find that they aren’t owned by their congregation, but that the churchs are actually owned by 2 or three people including the “pastor” and members of “the family”.Report


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