Deadline Day in Falcons Stadium Talks: A Conversation with Lloyd Hawk of Friendship Baptist Church


WABE News

  Thursday, August 1st, 2013 was a busy–and confusing–day in the talks about a new Atlanta Falcons stadium.  The Falcons prefer a site south of the current Georgia Dome, where two churches are located.  Thursday was the self-imposed deadline for a deal with the churches, without which the Falcons would shift their focus to a site north of the Dome.  

On Thursday afternoon, Lloyd Hawk, chair of the board of trustees at Friendship Baptist Church, told WABE’s Denis O’Hayer a deal between his church and the Falcons was close.  But late in the afternoon, published reports said the state had abandoned a separate set of talks with the other church, Mt. Vernon Baptist, after that church refused the state’s latest offer.

Whatever the outcome, Lloyd Hawk said his church would continue to serve its neighbors.  Here is his Thursday afternoon conversation with Denis O’Hayer.

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The following is a partial transcript of Denis O’Hayer’s interview with Lloyd Hawk, chair of the board of trustees of Friendship Baptist Church.

LLOYD HAWK, FRIENDSHIP BAPTIST CHURCH:  “We made a lot of concessions, we’ve gotten some concessions from the city and the Falcons as well, so we think that it can be done.  And we’re going to continue our part to make all these little efforts to try to get one done.”

DENIS O’HAYER, WABE NEWS:  “Obviously negotiations are sensitive things, but is there anything you can say publicly now about either the concessions that you have made or the concessions the Falcons have made?”

HAWK:  “I think from our part it’s been a matter of us looking very, very closely on everything that’s going to be involved and having to relocate a 151-year-old church and its congregation . . . and so we’ve been able to – we think – get everything down to as reasonably as everyone can imagine, and so that can be done at a situation where the church does not have to incur any debt or use any of its savings in order to make this move happen for the Falcons.”

O’HAYER:  “Does that mean additional money either from the city or the Falcons, in addition to one of the figures that has been talked about is $24.5 million, which reportedly is what you had proposed?”

HAWK:  “I can tell you definitely . . . uh, much lower than that.”

O’HAYER:  “Can you say how much lower?”

HAWK:  [laughs] “No, I can’t – I don’t want to go into those details, but I can say, you know, we have been very reasonable and we have been very clear that our only concern is, you know, we’re a church, we’re not a for-profit entity.  Our only concern is that, as a trustee of the church, my fiduciary duty is to make sure that in a situation like this, the church does not get weakened by that transition.”