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Falcons may look north for new stadium

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ATLANTA (CBS ATLANTA) -

The clock is ticking to complete a deal on a new Falcons stadium.

The city and Georgia World Congress Center are negotiating to buy land from two separate churches that sit to the south of the current Georgia Dome, in the footprint of where the Falcons want to build.

All sides have until Thursday to work out an agreement.

In the meantime, the World Congress Center could vote on Tuesday to let the Falcons build to the north if the churches don't budge.

Neighbors to the north, however, oppose the new proposal. 

Max Mandelis White, who owns the Transwestern Real Estate brokerage, wants the team to build the stadium on the land south of the Georgia Dome, not to the north, near the neighborhood along Marietta Street, just above Ivan Allen.

Condominiums and White's business would sit in the shadow of the proposed stadium's north site.

White and other neighbors fear the stadium would discourage developers from building new homes and office space in the northwest Atlanta community.

"If the stadium were here, they'd never be incentivized to actually develop their land to the highest use," White said.

The city is working up to the last minute to work out a deal with Friendship Baptist Church, which now sits just south of the Georgia Dome.

The Georgia World Congress Center, which runs the dome, is trying to reach an agreement with Mount Vernon Baptist Church.

"I'd like to see the churches work out an agreement or if they can't work out an agreement, re-work that site," White said.

White worries the owners of the parking lots now in the area would find it more profitable to use the land only for parking lots, not new homes and businesses.

"I don't think it's an option," White said.

Michael Koblentz, who chairs the Northwest Atlanta Community Alliance, which includes the neighborhood north of the dome, said he hopes all sides can work out an agreement.

"The south site is the way superior site," Koblentz said. "I'm still optimistic they can reach a deal."

A spokesman with Friendship Baptist said both his church and the city are still trying to come to an agreement and could have a deal by Thursday.

A spokeswoman for the World Congress Center would not comment on how their talks are going, but said the move to the north may become a more real possibility.

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