CUMBERLAND — The Atlanta Braves on Wednesday released renderings of what its Cobb County stadium and mixed-use development will look like when it opens in 2017.
Looking over the images, Commissioner Bob Ott, who represents the area, called them exciting.
“I think it shows that the mixed-use is the reality,” Ott said. “It’s the entire complex that we were told it was going to be. I think it’s a true mixed-use. I mean, there’s a cinema, there’s residential, there’s shops, and of course there’s the stadium, and I think it’s using some of the features of the land around it, there’s trees that are staying and stuff like that, so it’s exciting and I like what I’ve seen so far.”
Derek Schiller, executive vice president of sales and marketing for the Braves, took questions from the media about the project Wednesday via a conference call. Questions and answers have been edited for brevity.
Q: Discuss the main 57-acre parcel.
A: Moving from left to right on the screen, as you come in off 41 you will notice that there is a new street that has been put into the 57-acre tract. That leads all the way down and that would be referred to our Main Street for the purpose of this rendering. It goes down all the way throughout the complex and actually borders the first base facade of the ballpark itself. About one third of your way moving from left to right, you’ll notice a little blue dot, representing what we’ll consider to be a roundabout, and at that point in time there is also a secondary street which will lead into the ballpark and give some of the views you can see in later rendering here.
On the left side of the master plan we see anchor retail potential as we’ll call it. I don’t want to go through potential examples but we do see a number of retail opportunities with that. As you move from left to right past that roundabout there are a number of residential, office and retail environments as you lead toward the ballpark with additional food and beverages as well.
Q: Tell us about the water feature.
A: The water feature is simply at this point in time just that, a placeholder for a water feature within the development and bordering the ballpark. How it actually functions, the exact size of it, represented here in roughly an acre and a half, is still something that we’re deciding but we’re certainly contemplating utilizing a water feature as dramatic opportunities for fountains and backdrops from the ballpark as well as some of the other locations and buildings in the development. You will notice that there is a slightly curved building that borders the south side of the water feature that’s represented at least in the master plan rendering here as a potential boutique hotel concept.
Q: How much of what we see in the renderings will be done by April 2017?
A: If you look at the 57-acre tract, the majority of what represents the development, we’ll call that Phase 1, we anticipated all of what you’re seeing on this master plan being completed as a Phase 1 and done at the same point in time as we finish the ballpark. All of this obviously has to be accomplished — will be accomplished — April 2017. We feel very good about all of our schedules that lead up to that. … We are absolutely on schedule for completion of the ballpark as well as the master plan as you’re seeing here today … We are moving our ballpark, opening for April 2017, we are building this master plan, building this mixed-use development as well and we are absolutely committed to that.
Q: Will this be a hitter’s park? What are the measurements of left field, center field, deep right field?
A: The exact outfield wall dimensions are still being studied. But we are notably trying to keep this somewhat consistent with the way that Turner Field plays, meaning we wouldn’t necessarily label this as a hitter’s park. We do expect the outfield wall will have some geometry differences from Turner Field, meaning it will not be just a simple curve, which is what Turner Field is, it will definitely have some power alleys to it, and the exact dimensions of those are still being studied and explored, but we’d probably consider this more of a pitcher’s park than a hitter’s park. I guess all of that is determined by who’s pitching and who’s hitting.
Q: The rendering calls for 500 residential units. The zoning application says 600.
A: The exact number of residential units and exact number of square footage of retail and food and beverage and office, I think those are all things that will be fine-tuned as we get further into the project. The rendering here does represent 500, the zoning was to maximize the opportunity for the master plan.
Q: Will the residential units be owner-occupied or rental?
A: We have not decided that.
Q: Is there any new fan experience identifiable from the renderings?
A: I would say the one that is notable on the renderings is if you look beyond what would be considered the left field you can see some green space as well as even a little small ball field. That was intentionally put there to represent some family play space areas that are going to be very important for us and we see that as an important part of the amenities that we will offer at the new ballpark. Families represent such an important part of our fan base and we want to make sure we’re doing a lot of things inside of the confines of the ballpark to create a unique experience for kids and for families, that’s one representation of that.
If you look around the outfield wall, between the seating bowl breaks, you’ll notice there’s some green as well as multiple levels of access, which is also an important amenity, an important feature of the ballpark, creating unique opportunities for flow, 360 degrees around the ballpark, including this outfield on different levels with the potential to have some green space, garden-type of unique aspects of the outfield integrated into that design.
Q: How long will the average walk be for people to get into the stadium and where is the parking?
A: Access to the site is incredibly important and very advantageous for this particular site having 14 ingress/egress points. There’s going to be a lot of parking on the site, so on the 57-acres itself, some of that adjacent to the ballpark in the form of surface parking, some of that in structured parking and other parcels that would be 360 degrees around the ballpark. Parking, we believe, here will be a better, more enjoyable and easier access than it is currently.