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Tiny piece of land stands in way of new stadium | News

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Tiny piece of land stands in way of new stadium

ATLANTA, Ga. -- State officials are drawing up plans for the stadium that they'd like to see replace the Georgia Dome. And one of the biggest obstacles to finishing those plans is a tiny plot of land.

It sits south of the Georgia Dome in the footprint of property considered the preferred site for a new billion dollar stadium. State officials have tried for months to buy the vacant land, but we're told its asking price is in the millions of dollars.

Fulton County tax records show it's owned by a Florida man named Larry Zaglin, whom we couldn't reach for comment. Records show its assessed value is $161,280.

After the legislature opens for business next week, state officials want to be able to show lawmakers the location of the proposed new stadium -- as part of their effort to convince them to use state money to help build it. "They've certainly got a tough sell with the public and I think they'll have a tough sell here at the Capitol too," said Rep. Buzz Brockway (R-Lawrenceville).

Sen. Gloria Butler (D-Stone Mountain) says she and other lawmakers need additional information on the project before they can vote on it. "I would love to see what it looks like, just as the public would love to see what it's going to look like," Butler said. Butler says she would like to support the project; Brockway says he opposes it.

It's not likely state officials will be able to show lawmakers a stadium design before the session ends this spring. The Georgia World Congress Center Authority is expected to vote before the end of January on a Memorandum of Understanding between the Authority and the Atlanta Falcons, and would like to be able to settle the location before then.

The tiny plot of land owned by Mr. Zaglin is used as a gypsy parking lot during events, and the state can seize it by eminent domain. But officials would prefer to negotiate its purchase at a reasonable price.