In response to inquiries regarding the Falcons' site preference for the new Atlanta stadium, Falcons Owner & Chairman Arthur Blank issued the following statement:
Under the terms of the Memorandum of Understanding between StadCo (the Falcons stadium company) and the Georgia World Congress Center Authority, we have until August 1, 2013, to perform feasibility studies and inspections on the south site option for the new stadium. We have conducted a good amount of this work on the south site, but more work remains. Due to our desire to keep the stadium design process on track for an NFL 2017 season opening, we determined it was prudent to also begin the feasibility and inspection process on the north site.
The Falcons originally expressed a preference for the north site for the new stadium. However, we subsequently agreed to the south site as the preferred site, primarily given its attractiveness to other partners in the project.
There are advantages to both sites.
The clear advantage of the south site is its proximity to MARTA, which is important to our fans and the Georgia World Congress Center, as well as to access to the jobs that will be created during and after construction of the new stadium. The key advantage of the north site is that its size and location provides the flexibility to optimally position the new stadium. The bottom line, though, is that both sites are workable solutions.
The Georgia World Congress Center Authority and City of Atlanta have worked diligently and in good faith regarding the potential acquisitions of Mt. Vernon Baptist Church and Friendship Baptist Church, respectively, as it relates to the south site. We, along with the Authority and Mayor, have no interest in forcing these churches to move, and we have been public and forthright in saying so. If the churches determine that selling their property is not in their best interest, we will respect their positions and build the new stadium on the north site. We are sensitive to the churches' importance to and histories in the community and if they have any concerns at all, they should not sell.
To be clear, the churches need to make the decision that is right for them, not for us.
The new stadium project is a model public-private partnership built upon a spirit of cooperation and collaboration. We want this project to go down in the history books as an example of an economic development vehicle that creates a win for all parties involved, including Friendship Baptist Church, Mt. Vernon Baptist Church and the surrounding communities. We remain committed to making that happen.