ATLANTA — Although attention is shifting to a second site for a stadium that would be the new home for the Atlanta Falcons, the location remained very much in flux after a Wednesday meeting of a Georgia World Congress Center committee, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.
A deadline to buy two churches on the stadium’s preferred site is just more than a week away, and no deal with the congregations has been reached.
The paper reported committee executive director Frank Poe said after the meeting that two potential stadium sites remain on the table – the preferred site immediately south of the Georgia Dome that requires buying two churches and an alternate site a half mile north of the Dome.
The committee plans to decide whether to ask the state to give the Falcons permission to begin “due diligence work” on the alternative site to determine whether it's suitable to build the $1 billion stadium. That site is a half-mile north of the Georgia Dome.
Officials continue to negotiate with the churches near the preferred site.
An Aug. 1 deadline looms for reaching a deal with Mount Vernon Baptist and Friendship Baptist churches to build on the preferred site just south of the Dome.
The Falcons originally favored the north site, near the intersection of Northside Drive and Ivan Allen Jr. Boulevard. But the state and city preferred the south location near Northside and Martin Luther King Jr. Drive, and the Falcons consented.
Both churches have been prominent in Atlanta history.
The late Mayor Maynard Jackson’s father once preached at Friendship Baptist, a congregation which dates to the early days of the American Civil War.
When Friendship Baptist formally organized in 1866, members say it became Atlanta’s first independent black Baptist congregation. Without any property of their own, congregants initially worshipped in a train boxcar shipped in from Tennessee.
Morehouse College housed classes in the congregation in 1879 and Spelman began in the church’s basement two years later.
Mt. Vernon, which began as a storefront church in 1915, moved several times before landing at the property near the Georgia Dome, including a 1955 move because of road expansion.