The City of Atlanta and Friendship Baptist Church Offer Top Bid to Buy Morris Brown College for $14.6 Million

Morris Brown College [Atlanta]
Morris Brown College [Atlanta]
The City of Atlanta is the top bidder to buy Morris Brown College out of bankruptcy with an offer of $14.6 million, city officials announced late Thursday.

Atlanta partnered with Friendship Baptist Church, one of two historically black churches to sell in the wake of the future Atlanta Falcons stadium, to place a bid on the embattled property.

Under the proposal, the city — through its economic development agency Invest Atlanta — will spend $10.625 million and Friendship will contribute $4 million, according to Mayor Kasim Reed spokeswoman Melissa Mullinax. The Morris Brown Bankruptcy Creditors Committee has confirmed the city as the highest bidder, she said.

It’s unclear exactly what properties the city will assume in the takeover, but officials previously saidAtlanta would gain control of the college stadium, while Friendship would own other portions of the campus.

Morris Brown will retain some of its historic buildings, which Mullinax said will allow the school to continue providing educational opportunities.

Morris Brown filed for bankruptcy in August 2012 with roughly $30 million in debt. The college has since had intermittent talks with Atlanta over buying the property. Morris Brown rejected a $10 million offer from the city in 2013, but through Jones Lang LaSalle reached out to Reed in March.

Reed previously said in a statement Thursday that partnering with Friendship to buy the church allows both parties a “critical stake” in the revitalization of the Westside.

“If we succeed in this bid, it will bring much-needed stability and cohesiveness to these communities as we embark on a determined effort to spur job creation, civic engagement and business investment to the historic neighborhoods of Vine City and English Avenue,” Reed’s statement read.

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Source: Atlanta Journal Constitution | Katie Leslie

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