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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.”

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. Nobantu June 24, 2013 10:22 pm

    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”!Report

  2. Atlanta Voter June 25, 2013 9:48 am

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

    1. Frankly June 26, 2013 5:47 pm

      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.Report

      1. Chip June 28, 2013 2:14 pm

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

  3. EricaMorrisLong June 25, 2013 11:15 am

    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?Report

  4. ISAIAH ELLISON June 25, 2013 11:47 am

    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.Report

    1. Frankly June 26, 2013 5:47 pm

      ISAIAH ELLISON Preach!Report

  5. ISAIAH ELLISON June 27, 2013 10:29 pm

    Frankly; Hush your mouth! Right On.Report


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