Negotiations set to resume between city, churches

Negotiations set to resume between city, churches

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Negotiations between the city of Atlanta and a downtown church are warming up again. FOX 5 has learned Friendship Baptist Church expects to meet with Mayor Kasim Reed this week to close a deal on the land needed for a billion dollar stadium deal.

Last month, negotiations to buy the 151-year-old church built by slaves broke down after the city offered $13.5 million and the church countered with $24.5 million.

Mayor Reed returned to the table with an offer of $15.5 million, but the church turned it down. Reed became infuriated and the talks went sour.

Atlanta City Councilmember Ivory Young, whose district is where the new stadium will be built, hopes a deal will be struck on the more accessible south site, but vows not to meddle or persuade.

"This is the preferred site. This is the site that we'd like to see the stadium built, but not at the expense of these churches," said Young. "These churches play a role in helping to define the future of Atlanta."

When negotiations between the city and Friendship Baptist Church hit a snag, the city came up with a new site proposal that wouldn't involve Friendship Baptist Church and at all.

Young says unlike the mayor, his support for the billion dollar project is not automatic.

"The north site will make due for some, it won't make due for me.  I won't support it," Young said.

Negotiations will resume this week. The Atlanta Falcons have set an August 1 deadline to have the deal completed.

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