There’s been one word bandied around quite often in the past two weeks about the new Atlanta Falcons stadium: greed.
On one hand, some of the voices of the masses are screaming that the Mount Vernon Baptist and Friendship Baptist churches are greedy. How dare they ask any amount of substantial money for the land on which their historic churches continue to reside? On the other hand, the voices heard are continually maligning Falcons owner Arthur Blank. How dare he ask everyone else to pitch in to pay for what he wants? Truth be told, none of those voices are entirely wrong. The keyword there is, however, ‘entirely.’
The big surprise came when the south site—the desired site—was deemed ‘not feasible’ due to the stalemate in monetary negotiations with the churches. The south site was, in effect, Blank’s baby…ready for stadium conception with a planned 2014 groundbreaking and a new stadium birthing by the beginning of the 2017 NFL season.
The north site, however, comes with its own issues that will need definitive resolution for the stadium to move forward. Not only are the surrounding neighborhoods dead set against the stadium there, there are issues with contaminated soil in the area. The number of power lines that would have to be relocated can’t be disregarded either. The nearest MARTA access is half a mile away and not convenient for any fan.
The south site demise announcement initiated a feasibility assessment study on the north site, to be completed by October 1. It is important to note that Blank has also been quoted as saying about the north site, “From a stadium positioning standpoint, it’s more optimal.”
Coincidence in the positivity of that changing opinion? Only maybe. Blank isn’t known for his reticence in any matters associated with the Falcons, and it’s surprising that he seems to be preparing to give up on the south site. It’s possible he has more hidden tricks up his sleeve to keep the site in play, of course. At this point, it’s hard to imagine what those tricks could be.
Greed. It’s one of the seven deadly sins and if it could talk, it would certainly be laughing in joy with its current triumph in the new stadium war.