360 Architecture's rendering of the approach to the new Falcons stadium, with the Pantheon concept pictured here. (Image by 360 Architecture; courtesy Georgia World Congress Center Authority)
Most likely, 360 Architecture hasn't stopped trying to cook up some more wild designs. And the Holder/Hunt-led construction team probably hasn't halted its planning, either. But Atlanta officials still need to clear up a fairly significant potential roadblock to the planned and much-hyped Atlanta Falcons stadium project: the purchase of the Friendship Baptist Church.
According to NBCSports.com, leaders of the church—located close to the site of the new downtown stadium—have proposed an asking price of $24.5 million, or $9 million more than the $15.5 million that the city has offered to pay to acquire the property.
Meanwhile, the Atlanta Daily World reports that officials with the city and the stadium developer, the Georgia World Congress Center Authority, don't think the issue will ultimately derail the $1-billion project. But the negotiations are serious, with the city reportedly indicating it could simply bypass the church. According to the publication, the city's chief operating officer issued a statement that read, in part: "The city continues to support plans to build a new stadium on the south site and evaluate the site options ... which may not necessitate the acquisition and reconstruction of Friendship Church."
At the same time, church officials asserted that if the city opted to go that route, the religious facility's close proximity to the planned stadium could put the stadium in violation of the local ordinance banning alcohol sales within 100 yards of a church.
Another meeting between the city and the church was reportedly scheduled to occur sometime this week.