Church vote clears way for Falcons Stadium

Friendship agrees to sell for stadium

The congregation of Friendship Baptist Church overwhelming accepted on Sunday an offer to sell its facility to make way for a new football stadium.

The church and nearby Mount Vernon Baptist Church are on a site preferred by city officials and the Georgia World Congress Center Authority for the new stadium. Mount Vernon agreed on Thursday to sell its facility for $14.5 million.

“We believe with this transaction in our ability to remain in our community,” said Lloyd Hawk, chairman of Friendship’s board of trustees. “We will be able to provide an even greater level of service and ministry, which is so desperately needed for this community to reach the heights it is capable of achieving and so desperately deserving.”

The deal will net the 151-year-old church $19.5 million, to be paid for by the Atlanta Falcons. The team and the GWCCA will combine funds to pay for Mount Vernon.

The agreements to sell by the two churches brings to an end the saga over the viability of the south site, which city leaders prefer because of its proximity to two MARTA stops, a proposed multi-modal station and the GWCCA’s other facilities, such as Centennial Olympic Park.

Hawk would not say how many “yes” or “no” votes were cast in Friendship’s decision, offering that support for the deal was “overwhelming.” He also said he did not know how long the congregation met to vote.

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