The Atlanta Braves announced today that they will be leaving Turner Field after their 20 year lease expires in 2016. Moving out of the heart of downtown into the Cobb county area. The news comes close, almost too close to the news of the Atlanta Falcons building a new stadium as well. Knowing that Atlanta tax payers and now Cobb county tax payers will be helping foot the bill for brand new stadiums across metro Atlanta, it begs the question, what do they think about this?
The decision to move to the suburbs is a risky one. The map below shows that most ticket sales come from the north region but public transportation like Marta do not reach Cobb county like it does in downtown.
They released this statement:
The Atlanta Braves organization has secured a large tract of property at the northwest intersection of I-75 and I-285 and is working with Cobb County leaders to build a new world-class Major League Baseball stadium and integrated mixed-use development. The Braves will not extend their lease at Turner Field upon its expiration at the end of 2016.
“We believe the new stadium location is easy to access while also giving our fans a first-rate game day experience in and around the ballpark and making it a 365-day-a-year destination,” said Atlanta Braves President John Schuerholz.
The property, which has an Atlanta address and is located in Cobb County, has easy access to I- 75, I-285, U.S. 41/Cobb Parkway and a variety of other transportation options. The stadium will occupy a portion of the site, with the balance being used for parking, mixed-use development and green space.
The estimated cost of the stadium, parking and related infrastructure is roughly $672 million. The Braves will be a significant investor, along with Cobb County, in the project.
During construction of the stadium, more than 5,227 jobs will be supported, with a total payroll of more than $235 million.
The Braves’ lease at Turner Field, which is owned by the City of Atlanta and the Atlanta-Fulton County Recreation Authority, ends at the conclusion of 2016. Since the facility opened in 1997, the Braves have invested nearly $125 million in Turner Field.
Turner Field currently needs $150 million in infrastructure work (including seat replacement, upgrades to the lighting, etc.), none of which would significantly enhance the fan experience. If the Braves were to pay for additional projects focused on improving the fan experience, the additional costs could exceed $200 million.
Even with a significant capital investment in Turner Field, there are several issues that cannot be overcome – lack of consistent mass transit to the facility, lack of adequate parking, lack of access to major roadways and lack of control over the development of the surrounding area.
Construction on the new stadium is scheduled to start in the second half of 2014 and will be completed by Opening Day 2017. The Braves will develop the remaining parcels surrounding the stadium, crafting a world-class entertainment district featuring retail, restaurants and hotel options.
Plans call for the stadium to be owned by the Cobb-Marietta Coliseum and Exhibit Hall Authority, which also owns the Cobb Galleria Centre and Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre.
For more information, visit www.HomeoftheBraves.com.