Cobb County: Home of the Braves
by Jon Gillooly
November 11, 2013 08:19 AM | 126455 views | 154 154 comments | 114 114 recommendations | email to a friend | print
From left: Chairman of the Cobb Board of Commissioners Tim Lee, Commissioner Bob Ott, who represents the area, and Tad Leithead, chairman of the Cumberland Community Improvement District, stand on the undeveloped land that Braves officials said Monday will become the site for the new Atlanta Braves Stadium.
From left: Chairman of the Cobb Board of Commissioners Tim Lee, Commissioner Bob Ott, who represents the area, and Tad Leithead, chairman of the Cumberland Community Improvement District, stand on the undeveloped land that Braves officials said Monday will become the site for the new Atlanta Braves Stadium.
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In this April 1, 2013 file photo, fans watch from the outfield as Atlanta Braves' Jason Heyward swings at a pitch in the first inning of an opening day baseball game against the Philadelphia Phillies, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/David Goldman, File)
In this April 1, 2013 file photo, fans watch from the outfield as Atlanta Braves' Jason Heyward swings at a pitch in the first inning of an opening day baseball game against the Philadelphia Phillies, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/David Goldman, File)
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Site of the new Braves Stadium in Cobb
download Aerial of site
Where the ticket purchases come from
Where the ticket purchases come from
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CUMBERLAND — If County Chairman Tim Lee and Atlanta Braves President John Schuerholz get their way, Cobb will be the home of the Braves by 2017.

That was the bombshell news item out of left field that rocked the metro-Atlanta area Monday morning.

But first the plan must pass muster with the Cobb Board of Commissioners, which will have final say on the contract and is expected to take the matter up for a vote at its Nov. 26 meeting.

Schuerholz announced Monday that his organization had selected Cobb as the site to build a proposed $672 million, 42,000-seat Major League Baseball stadium. He reiterated later in the day, saying he is “100 percent certain” the move will take place.

The Braves franchise, he said, will not extend its lease at Turner Field when it expires at the end of 2016.

“The new stadium, we believe, will be one of the most magnificent ever built,” Schuerholz told reporters on Monday.

The open-air stadium is projected to seat between 41,000 to 42,000, compared to Turner Field, which can seat 49,586.

The franchise is eyeing a 60-acre wooded parcel near the Cumberland Mall. The new stadium would sit on 15 of those 60 acres. The Braves have an option to buy the site from Bethesda, Md.-based B.F. Saul Co.

Circle 75 Parkway and Windy Ridge Parkway are the two roads that help form the perimeter of the property.

The stadium would be owned by the Cobb-Marietta Coliseum and Exhibit Hall Authority, which also owns the Cobb Galleria Centre and Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre.

The Braves would develop the remainder of the site into a mixed-use entertainment district containing restaurants, retail shops and possibly hotels.

Naming rights for the stadium are expected to head to the market soon after the vote by commissioners.

Construction on the proposed stadium, if approved, would start in the second half of 2014 and would be completed by opening day 2017.

Lee said the financial details would be spelled out in a “memorandum of understanding” between the county and the Braves organization to be voted on at the Nov. 26 commissioners meeting.

“It’s a public-private partnership that reflects the conservative nature of Cobb County in its execution and it’s anticipated it will be considered a win-win for everyone involved,” Lee said. “I think it will be a high-profile, nationally recognized, quality organization coming to Cobb County, not unlike Home Depot or Lockheed Martin or any of the other world-class organizations that already call Cobb home.”

Lee said he didn’t know where Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed came up with information Cobb had offered $450 million in public support to the Braves.

“I don’t know where he got that number from, but I can neither confirm nor deny,” Lee said. “I don’t know where that number is coming from. I just know what the total cost is and our memorandum of understanding will be coming out hopefully real soon in which we’ll deal with all the finances.”

Reasons for the move

The Braves began looking at where their future home should be in 2005. Turner Field presented a number of challenges. For one, they don’t own the stadium. Since 1997, the Braves spent $125 million on infrastructure improvements, given that the stadium was built for the 1996 Olympic Games. Turner Field now needs about $150 million more in infrastructure improvements.

Worst of all is the traffic, said Mike Plant, the Braves executive vice president of business operations.

“What’s insurmountable is we can’t control traffic which is the No. 1 reason why our fans don’t come to more games,” Plant said. “That over the last decade has grown immensely in the city of Atlanta. We still don’t have mass transit to the stadium. We are underserved by about 5,000 parking spaces. And all of those things contribute to some real challenges to us that we just looking forward didn’t believe they could be overcome.”

Plant pointed to the easy access of I-75, 285 and Cobb Parkway and Gov. Deal’s new reversible lanes that will come online in 2018 as factors that make the new property more desirable.

The Braves also want to expand the “game day experience” around the stadium, giving fans a place to enjoy before and after the game. Yet at Turner Field they are landlocked, which is another reason for the move.

“This energy we’re going to create there, a place that people are going to want to come to before and after the games, including 365 around the year was something really important to us and with our current location we couldn’t control that process,” Plant said.

Schuerholz said the owner of the Braves organization, Liberty Media, is fully on board with the move.

“Their response is that ‘We like this, we give you the green light to go forward’ and we have,” Schuerholz said.

Brooks Mathis, executive vice president of the Cobb Chamber of Commerce, said the move will transform Cobb County.

“It’s going to obviously market the county in a tremendous way that we could never do without it,” Mathis said. “Cobb’s now home to the Atlanta Opera, the Atlanta Ballet and now the Atlanta Braves, so I think it shows that Cobb has an entertainment district, sports and recreation and restaurants, and that’s going to complement the performing arts center and all the things there, so I think with tourism already being our largest industry this is going to be incredible in really creating a sense of place, a destination, which I think gives Cobb County some incredible relevance in the region.”

Comments
(154)
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jus L
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November 21, 2013
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Concerned Citizen
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November 21, 2013
More clogging of the main interstates in and around Cobb County (which are already at a standstill) will only bring grief and misery to commuters from Cobb to Atlanta. The Braves stadium coming to Cobb is not a good idea. Private enterprise and tax payers money is like water and oil.
Tax Money
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November 15, 2013
We don't have tax money for our schools and teachers and yet we have it for a baseball stadium? I'm a Braves fan and would love to see them in Cobb County - but given the state of our schools and education here, I find it all a little ridiculous that we can afford something like this....
Deeedeeedeeee
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November 12, 2013
Hey! I need a new car! Can the government give me 75% of the cost of it to help me get it?

Why do tax payers have to help a private enterprise buy THEIR stuff!!!!
TheJB
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November 14, 2013
Uh.....because it's an investment. Those up front tax dollars will end up bringing in twenty times as much in property and sales tax later on.
Newt Maxwell
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November 12, 2013
Republicans suppress the people's right to vote on 450 million dollars of taxpayer money for a new stadium....Congratulations on circumventing due process by excluding the people from having a voice in this decision, I'm certain the right Republicans will benefit handsomely for ramrodding this down the people's throat. We must have a referendum that will allow the people to decide if they want 450 million dollars of their tax money spent this way !!!! The new Braves stadium..The real question is not whether we want the Braves here, it's do we want our commissioners making deals without the public's knowledge or input for more than five million dollars at a time. Expenditures of this magnitude are better decided with a referendum so the people can make an informed decision not five commissioners.. After all, it's the people's

money!!

Jjblur
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November 12, 2013
Just like the libtards are ramrodding healthcare down our throats where half of us are subsidizing insurance for the other. We didn't get much of a say. We see how that's working.
dbeall
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November 12, 2013
Republicans are responsible how?
Professor Mathers
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November 12, 2013
Let's see how long the MDJ allows this link to remain on their site: http://www.theatlanticwire.com/entertainment/2013/11/atlanta-braves-new-stadium-terrible-deal-cobb-county/71469/
malm
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November 12, 2013
Great stuff. Next step, convert Dobbins ARB into a White Plains-type airport.
anon2013
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November 12, 2013
Will they change the team's name to the Atlanta-at-Vinings Braves, or just the Vinings Braves?
Anon2789
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November 13, 2013
The new Outlet Mall of Atlanta is in Woodstock!!! At least the address for the new stadium is be "ATLANTA!"
Bob Bummer
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November 12, 2013
If taxpayer money is used to build a stadium in Cobb County then taxpayers should be able to watch the Braves play on free over the air TV just like the Falcons. A taxpayer funded stadium is a government subsidy/welfare for the owners of the Falcons. If I want to open/move a store/business to Cobb County can I get Cobb County to build it for me?
anonymous
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November 12, 2013
WOW!!!! Teachers have had their salaries lowered 2.5% overall and every year at least 5 furlough days, but the county can find money for this sports venue. Why? RESPECT EDUCATORS OR YOU WILL LOSE THEM!!!
anonymous
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November 16, 2013
Teacha's again. Wasting space. Your salary is fine as it is. Go harp somewhere else. Teacha's, teacha's, teacha's. The only overpaid faction of society that continues to harp "we want mo' money and we want less days." Can we hear you one more time and we will listen to it, then will you go away?
anonymous
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November 12, 2013
The same people behind the TSplost are behind this deal. They are always looking for a way to take from the tax payer and give to corporations. In return the public gets minimum wage jobs and more crappy shopping center like development. If the Braves want this development, then it should be 100% privately funded. Publicly funded stadium deals are a horrible deal for the tax payer. The economic benefit argument is a hoax and is not supported by independent economists who study this stuff (i.e. not the paid consultant type economists).
livid
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November 12, 2013
Now we'll see if the conservatives and Tea Partiers of Cobb County really believe in smaller government and less spending, or just less spending on the poor. Fight this thing, people. $450 million of government money to enrich the Braves ownership is an outrage.
Scout32
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November 12, 2013
Excited wonderful news for Cobb! I can't wait to live in that area. Restaurants, shopping, game days. It's going to be awesome and really be an economic win for Cobb!
More taxes
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November 12, 2013
The Atlanta Braves should stay in Atlanta. Why should Cobb County tax payers pay for this.I also believe that the Braves are just trying to play hardball with Turner Field.There is no mass transit traffic is already a nightmare in that area. I will just have to move out of Cobb County if this does go through.
Gatorwin
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November 12, 2013
Coming from someone who lives in the closest stadium neighborhood to the TED, here is what you can expect. Your property value will increase exponentially which means your property taxes will go way up, and I mean way up. Traffic will be diverted on game days which means your commute to and from home will be take longer. The trash that blows into your neighborhood, you just learn over time it's easier to pick up on your own instead of waiting for someone else to do it. Every Friday night you and your family will be subjected to 15 minutes of very loud fireworks between the hours of 9:30-11pm, depending on when game concludes. And the best of all, you get to witness tens of thousands of people submerge on your neighborhood daily that could care less about you, and keeping our neighborhood clean and safe. Congratulations Cobb County!
Sam Skinner
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November 12, 2013
I give you 3 years and you will make the Cumberland area look and feel just like the area around the current stadium. Thanks for abusing our tax dollars. You three are useless
anonymous
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November 12, 2013
Whine, whine, whine. Everyone wants to whine about the economy, but when something is done that can help OUR county, whine, whine, whine.
anonymous
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November 12, 2013
Don't get too excited, folks. The Braves are playing hardball with Turner Field and the city. When both come around, the Braves will stay at Turner.
Happy to hear
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November 12, 2013
This is great, the current I do not go to games because of the current area it is held. The other venues are in the little better location. I bet you will see more fans coming out when they move due to safety reasons. This is great news for Cobb, yes traffic will be crazy not all the time. Think positive!!
Cobb resident
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November 12, 2013
I just hope someone is smart enough to do something about the traffic and lack of public transportation NOW! Maybe Cobb will finally be smart enough to bring Marta in and give us HOV lanes?
Herewegoagn
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November 12, 2013
The tax burden is passed on to visitors of Cobb in the form of the Hotel/Motel Tax. It is money that would not have gone toward schools anyway.

The bigger issue is once MARTA rolls in here all the Atlanta Riff-Raff comes as well. For just a dollar or two they can get on the bus at the Art Center and come up here. Once here they scalp tix, beg for money and break into our cars. As far as help goes...Forget it Cobb Police is just as understaffed and under supported as Atlanta Police. They just hide it better.
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