“This solidifies the details associated with the announcement that was made a week ago in terms of codifying exactly what we said we were going to do,” Lee said.
Lee called the memorandum of understanding a roadmap for the next steps that would need to be taken to build a new stadium for the Braves in Cobb County. Following Tuesday’s vote, the county would then move forward with creating a new tax district in the Cumberland area to help fund the stadium.
“Hopefully I can get to that in December,” Lee said. “And then we’ve got to move forward on the ordinance on the rental cars. But this basically says this is an agreement that the Braves and Cobb County all have an agreement on what needs to be done, what next steps need to occur, you have the vote of the commission that says hopefully it’s affirmative and says yes we all agree this needs to be done, so everybody can move forward to the next step with a level of confidence that we’re going to work toward making it happen.”
The deal calls for building a $672 million stadium with Cobb County funding $300 million.
“The $672 is a maximum that our financial model can afford,” Lee said. “If it goes above $672, let’s say they decide to put a crystal chandelier in all the bathrooms and it goes up to $682, they can do that if they want, but they’re going to have to go find that incremental money from somewhere else. It’s not coming from any of the things we’re dealing with.”
The Braves share of the $672 million is $372 million, but it has the ability to reduce that by $50 million, according to the MOU.
“We want to do a world-class stadium,” Lee said. “We just haven’t designed it yet. But we know at a minimum this is what it’s going to cost. But at a maximum we don’t want to exceed this number because it just won’t work in the pro forma for the numbers. So they might create a whole stadium for the lower number and still have a world-class product or they may have to spend the higher number in order to do the world-class product. They’ll know more as they get into design as it relates to development. But if they go over that it’s all their nickel.”
The MOU allows the county to have three events a year in the stadium, although they can’t be concerts.
“They want to control the concerts only because there are very few acts that can control a venue like that and it’s a grass field, they want to make sure when it’s done it’s done right,” Lee said.
Lee said that leaves him with options like having a family day at the park or a 5K race for charity.
Commissioner JoAnn Birrell said she read the MOU on Tuesday.
“It’s basically everything we’ve already seen, it’s just in legal format. I’m comfortable with it,” Birrell said.
Commissioner Bob Ott was more guarded.
“I will spend the rest of the time prior to the vote reviewing, analyzing and getting questions answered that I may have,” Ott said.
To see the MOU, click on or download the PDF file above.