Friendship Baptist church accepts city's offer - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Friendship Baptist church accepts city's offer

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ATLANTA (CBS ATLANTA) -

The congregation of Friendship Baptist Church has accepted the city's offer for their land to pave way for the new stadium for the Falcons.

The church turned down the original offer of $13.5 million in June, but Sunday members voted to accept $19.5 million for its building and property.

"The congregation of Friendship Baptist Church has overwhelmingly agreed to accept the proposed agreement between ourselves, the Atlanta Falcons organization and the city of Atlanta to sell our current site," said church spokesman Lloyd Hawk.

Hawk did not specify what the final vote count was, saying that it was a "standing vote" held in the church fellowship hall following the morning worship service.

Along with neighboring church Mt. Vernon Baptist, Friendship Baptist will sell its land and move out so the Falcons can develop a new $1 billion stadium just to the south of the Georgia Dome.

"We weren't going to make a decision based on what a football team needed," said Hawk.  "And quite frankly that was the least of our concerns in the decision."

Hawk said they are looking at other sites to build their new church.  He didn't specify where that might be, but said they will not go far from their current site.

Mayor Kasim Reed released the following statement after learning of the vote:

"This morning's vote by the congregation of Friendship Baptist Church is the result of a great deal of cooperation and hard work over many weeks. This was not an easy process, but I believe all the parties involved kept true to the Atlanta way by coming together to make a decision in a fair, open fashion for the overall benefit of our city. I appreciate the efforts of the Friendship Board of Trustees, Chairman Lloyd Hawk, Rev. Dr. Emmanuel McCall and the entire Friendship congregation.

"I am excited about the positive impact that the expanded ministries of both Friendship Baptist Church and Mount Vernon Baptist Church will have in the community in the months and years ahead. I also look forward to the construction of an iconic Atlanta Falcons stadium that is easily accessible to all of our city's residents and brings well-paying jobs and greater business opportunities to the surrounding historic neighborhoods of Vine City, English Avenue and Castleberry Hill."

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