Conceptual image of the interior of the new Atlanta stadium
ATLANTA -- Negotiations to buy the land for the new Falcons stadium are at a standstill. Friendship Baptist Church says it wants a face to face meeting with the Mayor and more money. The city doesn't seem interested in giving them either.
In a candid conversation with Lloyd Hawk, the chairman of the board of trustees for the church, he stressed the focus for him is the financial health of the congregation and community it serves, not Falcons fans.
"At the end of the day, it's really not a dollar amount that's important to us, for us it's the outcome," said Hawk.
In an exclusive interview, Mayor Kasim Reed told 11Alive, the church's price for that 'outcome' is $24.5 million. It's a price Reed says is simply too high.
The mayor says the city initially offered $13.5 million and later counter offered with $15.5 million.
Hawk wouldn't confirm the numbers, but says the city has to make them a deal that would cover the cost of the land, as well as the costs associated with moving, such as storage for church property and construction of a new facility.
"We're not going to incur new debt to do that and we're not going to diminish our savings to do that," said Hawk.
The church has asked for a mediator or at least a face to face meeting with the Mayor to hash out a deal. He doesn't see it as playing hardball, he says he just wants to protect the financial future of the church.
"If they feel five or six million dollars makes a difference in a billion dollar project, that's their prerogative," said Hawk.