Members of Mount Vernon Baptist Church have voted overwhelmingly to accept a deal to sell its Northside Drive property to make way for the new Atlanta Falcons stadium.
The city of Atlanta had offered the historic, 98-year-old church $14.5 million, which the church voted in favor of in a 90-minute meeting Thursday evening. The Georgia World Congress Center Authority will reportedly pay $6.2 million, while the Falcons will contribute $8.3 million.
The church’s pastor, Rev. Rodney Turner, said the congregation prayed to help them reach the right decision. He added that the money will help the church help the community.
Mount Vernon and another historic church, Friendship Baptist Church, founded in 1866, are located on the preferred site of the new billion dollar stadium. While an alternate north site is also part of the stadium discussions, officials prefer the south site because of its proximity to public transportation.
Friendship Baptist has already agreed to terms to sell its land for $19.5 million. The church is expected to vote on the deal this Sunday.
Falcons owner Arthur Blank hopes to have the stadium open in time for the 2017 NFL season. Blank is also in discussions with Major League Soccer to bring an MLS team to Atlanta. If approved, the MLS team will play in the new stadium as well.