ATLANTA -- There's a new billion dollar football stadium at stake, with an August 1 deadline looming. There is tens of millions of dollars worth of church property as a potential political and financial wild card.
Despite the stakes, Mayor Kasim Reed says he's ready to step back from the stadium site selection drama.
"The thing about the stadium is, either solution is fine. The stadium is going to be built," Reed said Tuesday.
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Reed and other backers of the billion dollar project want it built on the site south of the Georgia Dome. But Reed says he doesn't want to pay too much for the two churches that stand in the way of that site -- and doesn't want to twist any arms.
Last month, Reed revealed that the city and Friendship Baptist Church were nearly $10 million apart in the city's effort to purchase the church's property.
Specifically, Reed said he was not willing to wedge the project into the south site next to Friendship Baptist -- a scenario floated by his staff earlier this month.
"There isn't going to be any pressure applied to get this deal done," Reed said. "We're either going to do it under favorable terms, on the south site where people leave feeling like it's a win-win, or we'll go to the north site."
The north site is less appealing than the south site because it's a half mile further away from the nearest MARTA rail station. The parties have until August 1 to acquire the south site -- or the project moves north. More talks are expected this week.