The Atlanta Braves organisation will not extend its lease at Turner Field upon its expiration at the end of 2016. Instead it is working with Cobb County leaders to build a new world-class Major League Baseball stadium and integrated mixed-use development. The Braves has secured a large tract of property at the northwest intersection of I-75 and I-285 to this end. Atlanta Braves President John Schuerholz, said:
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.
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.
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.
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.
The Braves estimate that 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, the Braves believe that 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.