SMYRNA — Atlanta Braves President John Schuerholz isn’t retiring anytime soon.
“Our chairman, (Terry) McGuirk, directed me that I’d be here until we get in the ballpark,” Schuerholz said. “And that’s my plan anyway.”
The 73-year-old gave a lunchtime speech to about 300 people at Vinings Bank in June, where he spoke of the new home of the Atlanta Braves, set to open by Cumberland Mall in 2017.
“This is a mission, a project of passion and excitement and joy for all of us with the Braves, what it means not only to our organization, but what it means to our region, what it means to our city, what it means to Cobb County, what it means to our fans,” Schuerholz said. “We’re going to be proud peacocks walking around when this beautiful facility and mixed-use development opens.”
For Schuerholz, the stadium move will also shorten his commute. Schuerholz lives in Vinings and has a daughter who teaches at Sope Creek Elementary in east Cobb.
As he’s done over the past few weeks, Schuerholz dropped new hints about the mixed-use development planned to accompany the team’s proposed $672 million stadium.
Schuerholz mentioned a bowling alley, a movie theater and an entertainment venue as part of the $400 million development. The Braves are in negotiations with two global players in the entertainment industry, Schuerholz said.
“Whichever one we decide on, we believe we will have the finest partnership, which will help us provide the entertainment function of that mixed-use development when there are not baseball games being played during the off season,” he said. “It will be a 365-days-a-year facility, and entertainment could be available through most of those days.”
Both entertainment companies own their own front line acts that travel the country, he said.
“They are entertainment providers. Singing. Stage acts. Entertainment that you go to Chastain Park to see or you go to Philips Arena to see. Now, you’ll come to our yet unnamed region and mixed-use development and watch acts.”
Schuerholz said the acts would be similar to those offered at the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre.
“It is very much like that. Different tenor. Different style, but those kind of quality acts,” he said.
He also mentioned a water feature in the mixed-use development he promised will be a unique aspect of the park. Schuerholz reiterated both the stadium and mixed-use development will open at the same time in April 2017.
In an interview with the Marietta Daily Journal, Schuerholz predicted the team will have no trouble if any lawsuits arise challenging the stadium. He referenced how a Fulton County Superior Court judge last month dismissed a lawsuit challenging the bonds for the new Atlanta Falcons stadium.
“That particular judge called them frivolous lawsuits,” Schuerholz said. “You have to expect these things to take place as a matter of course in projects of this nature and this magnitude, and those that have gotten as much attention as this one has,” he said. “We won’t be surprised if there’s a challenge, and we certainly won’t be surprised if the bond validation is upheld.”
Schuerholz became general manager of the Braves in 1990 and held the position until 2007, when he was named team president. During the time he managed the team, the Braves had the best overall record in all of Major League Baseball.
He also said the new stadium might not have happened if the public learned about it too early.