Wednesday, September 11, 2013

City offers Mount Vernon Baptist Church $14.9 million for stadium property, report says

Posted By on Wed, Sep 11, 2013 at 6:25 PM

Atlanta officials have reportedly inched closer toward acquiring the final piece of land needed to build the new Falcons stadium at its preferred location.

Fox 5 reports that Duriya Farooqui, the city's chief operating officer, yesterday made a $14.9 million offer to Mount Vernon Baptist Church Rev. Rodney K. Turner. According to the news station, the church's members are likely to make a decision in the next five to 10 days.

If Mount Vernon accepts the offer, the deal would allow the Atlanta Falcons to build its new stadium south of the Georgia Dome - the preferred site given its proximity to two MARTA stations. Back in early August, Mayor Kasim Reed had struck a $19.5 million deal with Friendship Baptist Church, a nearby church that would also need to be relocation before the new $1 billion multi-use facility was constructed.

Mount Vernon's leaders had previously told the Georgia World Congress Center Authority that they wanted $20.4 million for the property. But state law prevented the agency from paying more than $6.2 million, which at one point made a deal seem nearly impossible. Last month, Reed stated at a press conference that Mount Vernon's pastor had lowered its asking price to $15.5 million, which effectively kept the discussions alive.

Earlier this week, Reed told 11 Alive that private funding had "materialized" to help bridge the gap and make the purchase happen. He declined to talk specifics about the funding source at the time.

We've reached out to Mayor Reed's spokespeople to confirm Fox 5's reports. If we hear back, we'll post an update.

UPDATE, 12:43 p.m.: Reed spokeswoman Melissa Mullinax says she can't confirm the offer. Meanwhile, the AJC reports that the offer was for $14.9 million, slightly lower than what Fox 5 initially reported.

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