Falcons owner Arthur Blank: It's time to fish or cut bait

Falcons owner Arthur Blank: It's time to fish or cut bait

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Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank says it's time to "fish or cut bait."  On Wednesday, Blank said he's setting a timetable to move forward with building the new facility.

Speaking to an audience alongside stadium designers at the Georgia World Congress Center on Wednesday, Blank said he's willing to shift his focus from the north site back to the south site if a firm deal can be finalized to purchase Mount Vernon Baptist Church within two weeks.  

Wednesday morning's event was hosted by the Council for Quality Growth, and lots of Falcons fans were on hand to hear about the next steps of the process.

Leaders have already agreed to sell the church, which would pave the way for the stadium to be built on the south site.  But someone must find an extra $9 million over what the state appraised as the property value to make the deal happen.  The church negotiated the extra money as part of a $19.5 million deal made with Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed.

When asked if he is willing to pay the extra money to close the gap, Blank said he wouldn't say yes and he wouldn't say no.

"We're going to be a great partner," Blank said.  "We're going to do whatever we have to do to get the stadium built."

"While that's playing out, we're focused on trying to make sure that we finish the feasibility on the north side, because either way, we've got to get the stadium done on the timeline that we've put forth," said Falcons general manager Rich McKay.

One way or another, team management says they'll open the doors to the new facility for the 2017 season.

Blank will be the one to make the final decision.  If the stadium is built on the northern site, which is about four blocks from the south site, city officials say it will bottleneck traffic and be too far away from MARTA.

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