Braves announce plans for new stadium in Cobb County using “public funds”

Whoever had the Atlanta Braves in the “Who’s going to be the next MLB team to announce a new stadium” sweepstakes, raise your hand:

The Atlanta Braves are expected to announce today the team plans to relocate to Cobb County with a new stadium being ready for the 2017 season. They will be leaving Turner Field after their 20 year agreement expires at the end of the 2016 season.

The new stadium will be built near the intersection of I-75 and 285. The current site is under contract and set to close in early 2014.

That’s from the Marietta Daily Journal, and that’s all we know so far. Braves execs had previously indicated that they weren’t crazy about the current location of Turner Field, but to have a stadium deal all ready to announce — and to be ready by the 2017 season, which means groundbreaking next year sometime — is totally crazy.

The big question, obviously, is how they’re going to pay for it: If it’s going to involve any public money (presumably from Cobb County, which is not exactly flush), then presumably that would involve some legislative votes in the upcoming months. But if it’s not, then are the Braves really prepared to build a new stadium completely on their own dime? Is it that important to them to be at an intersection of two other freeways instead of the ones they’re at now?

One other possibility, though this is complete speculation: With that lease expiring in three years, it’s possible we’re seeing the beginning of a gambit to pressure the city of Atlanta to cut a deal for a new lease with publicly subsidized upgrades, as team execs hinted at back in April, or even a new stadium, or else face losing the team to the suburbs. We’ll know more later today, maybe — stay tuned.

UPDATE: Braves officials have now held a press conference, and:

The Braves said the project will be built in partnership with Cobb County. They indicated that Cobb County would provide public funds toward building the stadium but declined to provide details on that.

So, not on their own dime, then, which means there’s going to need to be a huge rush through the Cobb County legislative process to get this ready to go by next year.

There’s also a new website set up by the team that provides information about the new stadium project, though not much. And a video statement by team president John Schuerholz that says even less.

And away we go…

UPDATE #2: The Atlanta Journal Constitution is now reporting (no named sources, just “we’re told”) that the Cobb County stadium would involve $450 million in public money, $200 million from the team.

UPDATE #3: Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed says $450 million in subsidies for the Braves is too rich for his blood, and he “wishes them well.”

71 comments on “Braves announce plans for new stadium in Cobb County using “public funds”

  1. “Surprised? Eddie, if I woke up tomorrow with my head sewn to the carpet I wouldn’t be more surprised.” Really, Atlanta now becomes the cautionary tale much more than even Miami for getting taken for a ride by Loria: perfectly good football stadium, almost paid off, let’s tear it down and build a new one. Perfectly good baseball stadium, that made use of the Olympic stadium no less, we’ll move to the county in 20 years, thank you very much. The expectations when these things were being pushed through was that the futures of the teams were being secured for generations. Every single city that builds a stadium from now on needs to assume that they WILL leave as soon as the lease is up, and weigh whether it’s worth it to rent a baseball team for 20 years or so. Unbelievable.

  2. Initially I was shocked/dumbfounded/(enter more appropriate adjectives here) when I read this, especially as the Braves stadium is relatively “young.”
    But then I remembered that seemingly the only people outraged by public financing of private stadiums, are the people who read & comment on this website, and others like it.
    Politicians will continue to accept the lobbying from sports owners to finance these financial boondoggles, and the public will either stupidly champion the new construction (Jobs! Jobs! Jobs!), or resign themselves to the old adage “you can’t fight city hall.”
    A true “voice” of opposition doesn’t exist…local media seemingly has never met a stadium deal it hasn’t liked and championed…forget about ANY kind of investigation into the financing of these deals, or the cost/burden the public will bear.
    At least when it comes to Sports Owners, this country is a plutocracy – the wealthy have access to the power structure to push through all and any legislation they want, and they do so again and again, public interest be damned.

  3. Now ballparks don’t make it 20 years before teams want to move to something new. I guess stadiums are throw away like appliances. Ball parks built in the 90s are now considered obsolete? I could almost accept when the ballpark explosion began that teams did not want to share stadiums with football because of issues sharing multi purpose stadiums. If the Braves want to spend their own money, lol, they can do what they want. Since that probably will not be the case, what is the problem with Turner Field? The public did not spend enough money on it? Not the newest on the block? Need room for an even larger scoreboard, I mean giant TV so they can throw more advertising at me. The owners of the Rays and A’s must be rolling their eyes. If this was Star Trek and it were possible to transport Turner Field to their cities, they would probably grab it.

  4. This is very similar to the move by the Santa Clara 49ers. It’s an area with a lot of businesses but very limited entertainment options. The freeway infrastructure is developed and more easily accessible than the old stadium. I happen to work walking distance from the stadium site when I work in the Atlanta area (same as for LeviStadium when I work in the Silicon Valley).

  5. Actually Phil, the Rays are currently in talks to relocate the team from St. Petersburg to a new stadium in Tampa. It’s very similar to what’s going on here and has been in the works for some time now.

    The A’s also are currently in talks to relocate ASAP. They could end up sharing AT&T park with the Giants or sharing a brand-new proposed stadium in Oakland with the Raiders.

  6. Like many I too am appauled that a less than 20 year old ballpark is being replaced and fear that this could start yet another glut of ballpark building replacing parks that were supposed to last up to a half century (particularly since the previous glut started in ’92 hasn’t even finished yet in places like Tampa, Oakland and potentially cities like Anaheim and Toronto).

    That said part of me hopes that Turner Field’s problems are unique among the post Camden parks and that limits the overall damage. And indeed anyone who visits Turner knows it wasn’t the best designed ballpark in the new wave due in part to having been built as a 100,000 seat venue originally. Nor is it in the best location with traffic apparently being “nightmarish” according to fans. And having visited it, the park hasn’t held up well either with rusted out rebar showing through staircases and walkways and the facade already crumbling off the building.

    So while replacing Turner already is ridiculous, here’s hoping that it’s a one off more than the start of a new wave.

  7. Dawg, difference is the A’s are looking to move out of a poorly maintained football stadium they’ve called home for nearly half a century and the Rays are looking to move out of a crashed spaceship that was poorly thought out, located and built to 1960’s specifications. Turner Field would be the first of the Camden Yards clones to be replaced, ostensibly for no reason. Ballparks that were supposed to last half centuries, not 15 years.

    Then again this does seem to be a reoccurring thing for Atlanta, replacing 90’s stadiums/ballparks given they’re doing the same thing for the Falcons, again for no good reason. Maybe there’s something in the water in central Georgia?

  8. mp, I wouldn’t be too sure. 625 million dollars for a ballpark sounds like it could be dome money to me. $400-$500 mil would be an open air venue. Maybe that’s the real driver for this, could the Braves be looking to move indoors?

  9. I doubt you could get a dome for that money at today’s prices.

    And as for the water in central Georgia, I suspect the common factor is terrible lease negotiations in the ’90s: The Braves got just a 20-year lease, and the Falcons’ lease terminated as soon as the bonds for the Georgia Dome were paid off. Not demanding at least a 30-year lease these days is public-policy malpractice.

  10. Well it’s actually $679 million from what I’m reading. Still think in relatively affordable Atlanta that you could get a dome for that. Particularly if the A’s are planning a $500 million open air ballpark in the more expensive Bay Area.

  11. $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

  12. Well here’s the Braves overriding justification. Take it for what you will…

    They claim the vast majority of their season ticket holders actually live near the new stadium site.

  13. The taxpayers in Fulton County will probably be on the hook for the upkeep, re-purpose or demolition of Turner Field when the Braves move. Cobb county would contribute, as posted $450 million, towards the new park and at the same time Fulton county taxpayers would be responsible for what ever happens to Turner Field.

  14. Dan: It’s undoubtedly a somewhat better site for the Braves. Whether it’s $650 million better, or even $200 million better, is a far different story.

    Note, incidentally, that Cobb County is a major Tea Party enclave, the district that sent Newt Gingrich to Congress. So it’s going to be very interesting to see how they come up with $450 million without raising taxes.

  15. Wow, $400 million in public funding? This move was almost impossible to justify before the public cost was known (or even if being paid for privately), but THIS?

    I do hope this goes up for a vote and hopefully the people of Cobb County have some sense to vote it down. When teams actually can come up with logical community supporting reasons to build a stadium or arena it’s one thing. When they’re doing it simply to have a shiny new toy to replace their slightly less shiny new toy it’s asinine.

  16. Neil,
    Cobb County will justify the Corporate Welfare that is taking money from the taxpayer and giving it to the Braves organization through the tried and true rationalization of “A new stadium will bring JOBS! JOBS! JOBS! and will reinvigorate the local area economy!”
    No mention will be made of the TYPES of jobs (construction jobs being obviously temporary, and the jobs after construction ends will be what? The SAME jobs that existed at Turner Field?…So NO new jobs there!).
    I REALLY want to see a city of people finally have the chutzpah to “storm the castle” as it were, and vocally and visibly oppose these deals, scaring their elected officials into saying “NO, to publicly financed stadiums for the Billionaire sports owners!”

  17. Dan M: Oh, sure. But given that these are guys who publicly equate spending government money to create jobs with socialism, it’s going to be interesting to see how they spin this one. I doubt they can generate $450 million just from kickbacks of existing taxes.

  18. I stand corrected Neil. They’ve come out and said it will be open air. And of course they’re excited about it having less seats than Turner (42,000 v Turner’s 50,000) so they can jack up prices for the affluent white folks they’re moving toward.

  19. As a City of Atlanta resident, this is terrific news. The area immediately next to Turner Field is a dump but there has been under tremendous gentrification pressure along the edges of the area that couldn’t overcome the sea of parking that surrounds the stadium. The redevelopment of Turner Field will be a huge win for the city. Instead of a city owned property that generates no taxes other than a small amount of sales tax (which the team gets all manner of kickbacks), the area can be turned into a neighborhood with homes and businesses that contribute to the health of the city 24/7. Expect to see a gold rush type situation when Turner Field closes. The area has excellent access to the central business district and I20, I75/85.

    Too bad the city is still saddled with the new Falcons stadium and it’s huge parking lots. The mayor has already made an attempt to allow the Falcons to tear down nearby neighborhoods for even more parking but was caught. He’ll try again and again. Insiders already have the land purchased, they just need to city’s approval for tearing down all the housing to make way for cars.

  20. The most disturbing part of this is that Cobb officials have no problem pledging the county’s participation without any kind of public hearing. It fits quite well with the strategy of getting to “how do we pay for this?” as quickly as possible – just skip over the “should we pay for this?” phase.

    LOL moment: when Bluestein/Galloway brought up the prospect of replacing Turner with a horse racing track. Now there’s an industry with all kinds of upside potential!

    (Would this be the first MLB stadium built in the ‘burbs since Kauffman? I guess the Rangers would count as suburban.)

  21. Difference with the Rangers, and the other currently “suburban” parks like Citizen’s Bank and Miller, is that all of them were built adjacent to their predecessors. This would be the first time since the 60’s that a team purposely abandoned a downtown or near-downtown location to go to the suburbs. It’s a totally against the grain move that makes no sense given the prevailing successful trend.

  22. Turner Field may be within the city limits, but it’s a pretty suburban location. It’s not like there’s anything walkable from there. (And, really, not like people in Atlanta walk anywhere anyway.)

  23. True it wasn’t in the heart of downtown, but it wasn’t exactly far away either being a mile from the heart of Atlanta. And it was only two or three stops from the central part of downtown on MARTA (via the connector buses) which makes it really convenient if you’re taking that public transit system. This new location is most definitely suburban with no transit access at all and being 13 miles north of downtown.

  24. Oh, agreed that it’s a terrible site for public transit. Just saying it’s not as big an issue in Atlanta, where everybody drives anyway. (For now, at least. Will be interesting to see whether this is still the case 20 years from now.)

  25. Still you can see why the Braves would do this. For the same $200 million they foresee needed to renovate Turner Field to be what they want out of it (regardless of how unrealistic their desires are) they’re going to get a new ballpark in Cobb closer to their richer, whiter, fans. And it’s all possible due to the loons running Cobb County and their loose checkbook. I honestly can’t fault the Braves for taking it. Cobb County is acting as an enabler in this situation feeding the Braves addiction to newer shinier toys.

  26. What Dan said. Assuming it’s really $450m from the county, that is, and I have no idea why they’d float that number now if it were actually less.

  27. The tea partiers in Cobb aren’t likely to be a problem. They’ll buy the “provides jobs” line and whatever economic development numbers the Braves put out. They’ll happily do it because they get to stick a thumb in the eye of Atlanta, which they hate more than anything else on the planet. But I’m quite happy to let them whitewash Tom Sawyer’s proverbial picket fence. The City of Atlanta gets a huge swath of the central city returned to active use and Cobb County gets the bill. Win-win for Atlanta!

    It’s going to be difficult for Mayor McStadium to spin this as a positive since he just spent a year telling everyone that sports stadiums are the alpha and the omega of economic health. The announcement coming less than a week after an election looks suspicious. I expect he’s going to find it hard to push his agenda for quite some time to come.

    Neil, while it is true that much of metro Atlanta is addicted to the automobile, central Atlanta neighborhoods have taken great strides in recent years at making walkable neighborhoods. You do your site and your reputation a great disservice to use such a broad brush to say no one in Atlanta walks.

  28. I meant no one walks *to baseball games*. I’m sure some people in central Atlanta do walk, but it’s still one of the most car-centric cities east of the Mississippi.

  29. You know, given this news, maybe Atlanta would want to convert Turner Field into a new soccer specific st….I’m just going to stop there.

  30. Also, love the Braves’ “stadium wasn’t designed for us” line. Hmmm, because most athletics stadiums are built like this:

  31. Neil, not only do the numbers play into this making sense for the Braves, the perceived deficiencies in Turner Field, both location and construction, do as well. For the Braves this isn’t like if they were abandoning one of the more “perfect” ballparks built in recent years.

    If they were abandoning say AT&T Park’s iconic waterfront location, or PETCO Park’s Gaslamp hugging near waterfront location, or Camden Yards’ central location with it’s iconic warehouse, or PNC Park’s riverfront/city skyline location etc… it might give the Braves pause. But as it is there’s nothing location or ballpark wise that’s all that distinctive about Turner that would make the Braves stop and think twice in the face of being offered $450 million in free cash and a chance to build just such an iconic ballpark (whether they’ll succeed in doing so at a suburban location is a discussion for another day). Add to that the season ticket base excuse (along with the racial/affluence overtone it has) and the Braves having no ownership stake in Turner Field (like say the Giants and Padres have in their parks), and it becomes even clearer why the Braves are making this move.

  32. I love this move by the braves… Best franchise in MLB… Let’s be honest the area around the TED is a dump.

  33. I suspect the $450 million has way more to do with this than Turner not being “iconic.” But even if you’re right, there are plenty of other MLB teams that could make the same argument about their ’90s-era parks (Indians and White Sox for starters).

  34. Neil, that was my implied point. If you combine the bad location, the characterless and somewhat deficient park, lack of team ownership of the park, and someone offering almost half a billion dollars to move against the successful grain, you get Atlanta.

    And while I’m sure the free cash is a big driver of this, I just don’t see it being the only one. For instance if somehow San Mateo in the Bay Area suddenly offered the Giants $450 million toward a brand new park or El Cajon in San Diego County offered the Padres $450 million, you wouldn’t see the Giants or Padres take it. They’d have no reason to do so. Their ballparks were built to their specifications having everything they needed then and now, both have been kept up well to date, both are iconic in their own ways (both location and design wise), and both teams have ownership stakes in their parks (in full or part).

    While the money from Cobb Co. is the catalyst in Atlanta, it’s not the only factor driving this.

  35. “Difference with the Rangers, and the other currently “suburban” parks like Citizen’s Bank and Miller, is that all of them were built adjacent to their predecessors.”

    And we’re truly talking about the suburbs here. It’s the equivalent – in terms of proximity to downtown – of the Brewers moving to Brookfield or the Phillies out to Newtown Square.

    But the subsidiary benefits of being downtown (above and beyond getting a free stadium) have always been more for the cities than the teams. This is really about finding someone willing to pay for a large chunk of a new stadium, particularly important for a team on the lower rungs of the TV revenue ladder. Can’t blame ’em for taking the handout.

  36. Just another minor point on why using the Rangers as a Southern “suburban” example is not comparable: while Arlington is indeed a suburb, it is between Dallas and Fort Worth (as Irving is as well, when they hosted the Cowboys). Thus, the Rangers are ironically close to the metro area’s population center by being in a suburb than if they were near the downtown of either large city.

  37. True on all 3 cities. There’s little doubt this will be MLB’s first move to the real suburbs of a city since 1973. It goes against the current successful conventional wisdom. And while it might not be the only team in any city that a move like this would appeal to as Neil said above, I don’t think it’s a move that would have broad appeal for most franchises. The benefits of a central location too often would outweigh the allure of the handout (usually teams want not only the handout but for it to be from a location that makes sense). With Atlanta that’s obviously not the case.

  38. QCIC broke the comment box!
    Dan – I think open air because a retractable roof costs anywhere from $150M-$250M or more. Then the high cost of metal materials & all that pricey technology that will go into it, $679M seems a little on the low end considering how high the new Mets & Yankees digs went for.

  39. If Oak or SJ made the same offer to MLB, you would see the BRC and BS come to a decision very quickly.

  40. Neil – Illinois is just so in debt it’s almost a relief that there’s no public money to fund Comiskey Park III. Almost. Reinsdorf seems content with the 2001-07 upgrades & it looks like everything will be status quo until he passes away, which he told his kids to sell the team.
    But when they do build it, I hope it looks exactly like the 1980s Comiskey Park but not with so many seats; especially in the outfield upper deck & 335′ down the lines. But it will never happen because they’ll want walls & walls of advertisements.

  41. Looks like Mayor Reed isn’t going to play bidding war:

  42. The one thing I hate is when owners try to justify cost by saying it is going to enhance the fan experience. I use to go to the games at Shea Stadium, you know the place that everyone called a dump. When the team was winning, it was a great fan experience, when the team is not winning, the experience is not as good. A hot dog at Shea that seemed to be cooked in fire hydrant water was great as well as the watered down adult beverage. The game itself is what it use to be all about. Parking issues. Ask the Red Sox how they do it. They seem to manage. Seats, water pipes and other parts of the infrastructure need to be addressed. This is called maintenance. For those who own a car or house, you know what that is. It cost money to maintain. Maybe if the Braves had more of a financial stake in the stadium instead of the county owning it, they would think differently. I am pretty sure if the Braves owned Turner Field, they would ask for upgrades instead of getting another county to pay most of the bill for a new ball park.

  43. Didn’t think he would. If this was a bidding situation the Braves wouldn’t have secretly negotiated a deal with Cobb and then presented it as a done deal like they did today. It would have been very public. No the Braves really are moving to the rich burbs.

  44. Guey, if that’s really what the BRC is waiting for in the Bay Area they might as well pack it in. Neither Oakland nor San Jose is going to contribute more than TIF or infrastructure funding to a new ballpark. This kind of thing doesn’t fly in California anymore.

  45. Prediction: The Atlanta Falcons will now want the site and will build a new dome on the old Atlanta Fulton County stadium site. As a result, the entire mess with the churches is now moot.

  46. Phil I was thinking the same thing. Teams not having a financial stake in the venues seems to be one of the plethora of factors that contribute to this lease up, time to flee, mentality. Makes me glad teams like the Padres have a 30% stake in their ballpark or the Giants having 100% (and the A’s also pursuing 100% in San Jose). The more a team is financially tied to a venue the less likely they’ll simply flee when it’s time to make improvements. Not unlike a home renter vs a home owner.

  47. When i heard this today i couldnt believe it. We have a stadium BUBBLE and the cities dont see it. I was a Yankee season ticket holder in the old stadium, from 95-08 they had 57,000 fans every night. They built a new stadium jacked ticket prices cut capacity back to 49,000 and they are lucky to get 40k in the stands and you know what it looks like behind home plate Empty!!! The NY Giants used to have a 20 yr waiting list for season tix they built a new stadium with expexsive PSL’s and 50 yrs tix holder gsve them back and they blew through the 20 yr list. I read all of the comments here and they are great Atlanta would be smart tomsay GOOD RIDDANCE and redevelop the area so people could enjoy it 365 days a year and not need a loan to do it.

  48. Neil,

    What team in their right minds would sign a 30 year lease after what St. Pete is doing to the Rays? Public officials can demand 30 years all they want, but if no team will sign then good luck getting economic activity out of the weekend flea market that runs on your parking lot.

  49. “… without raising taxes to pay for it…”

    Oh Neil… you know the tea baggers aren’t going to raise taxes to pay for a public money bonanza for their pals in the sports business. They’ll just fire some teachers, starve some single mums on welfare and maybe close a few inner city schools and free clinics (which we all know are just another form of creeping communist influence in the nation) to free up the money they need. No one who “matters” will get hurt. Heck, those folks probably weren’t going to get a seat on the bus to the great reward in the sky anyway.

    Oh, sorry, I guess I shouldn’t be reading campaign pamphlets when I’m tired… it tends to soak in a little before I snap to…

  50. Ben:

    I think you’ve forgotten which party is the recipient of the public largesse here. Teams want tax dollars to pay for their revenue generating palaces because they know there is no return on the investment required should they pay for the ‘extras’ themselves. They will sign long term leases (many already have) to get public subsidy.

    As for that flea market, well, it would at least require a permit from the city, which would mean net revenue. Typically, modern stadia do not generate enough economic spin off for the city to cover their construction bonds, let alone provide a net revenue stream after expenses.

    But I hope you are right and sports teams everywhere start telling their host (in the parasitic sense) cities “You keep your $400m, we won’t sign a long term lease”.

    Then they can build their own stadia with their own money on land they purchased and pay property tax on. Just like the vast majority of other privately run businesses have to (mine included).

    By the way, St. Pete isn’t doing anything to the Rays other than requiring them to meet their contractual obligation, as all businesses are required to do under law.

  51. John: The entire Cobb County budget is about $300m, and they’re already looking at cutting $60m from schools next year to close a budget hole:

    They’d need about another $30 million a year to pay off the Braves stadium bonds. Eventually they’re going to run out of teachers to fire.

  52. Atlanta is getting hosed. Seriously, almost $2 billion for 2 new stadiums that really don’t need to be replaced now? Would the Falcons and Braves do this if they had to spend their own money, which businesses generally are supposed to do to operate? No chance at all. Atlanta’s taxpayers need to put their foot down and stop this. What is going on there?

  53. If I read the mlb web site correctly, 30,000 parking spaces for 41,000 seats for the new Braves stadium. I can see it now. Teams will want to leave their downtown locations that they sold as where they really want to be a few years ago because of parking and transportation issues. They want acres of parking for the promise of new entrainment options for fans the whole year. Ask the Jets and Giants how that will work out on game day with the old Xanadu project. As I mentioned, the Braves don’t seem to have any skin the game since they do not own Turner Field. The cookie cutter Fulton County Stadium would have lasted longer than the state of the Art Turner Field, 30 vs 20 years. Who would have ever thought it. It would surprise me at all if Rickets in Chicago gets fed up with the roof top owners and build somewhere else. Yes I know there is an agreement, but after todays announcement by the Braves, nothing will surprise me when it comes to owners greed. Do not be mistaken, this is not for the average fans interest. What is ironic here is that while the A’s appear to have been fighting forever for a new ball park and, The Braves will probably be in their 2nd new park within 20 years. Who’s next? The Marlins will say that the over estimated the amount of seats and Marlins Park is too big for the amount of people who happen to accidentally walk into the place so I new ball park is in order and the city should pay for?

  54. In fifteen years after the Cobb Stadium is built the Braves will go … “You don’t love us. If you did you would have built us a 12,000 seat floating stadium on Lake Allatoona. And two divisions of seats. The nosebleed and the luxury suites. Separated by armed guards of course.”

    But it seems in the comments here and elsewhere many think this new stadium thing is an idea to go gaga over.

  55. Just found your blog after hearing about this in our local news today. I am a resident of Cobb County and am FURIOUS that this is the first we are hearing of this seemingly done deal. We live less than 10 miles from the proposed site. What a boondoggle this will be for the taxpayers of Cobb County. Our family attends games at Turner Field and we love the Braves. That stadium is beautiful and less than 20 years old! If the reason for moving is that the area has remained blighted, that hardly bodes well for Cobb County. The new stadium site is already well-developed and very congested. Which businesses have to leave in order to make room for the stadium? How many jobs will be lost, and how much will the ongoing costs to the county be for police, EMS, transportation improvements, etc.? How much lost productivity due to the (already ungodly) traffic tie-ups? Not to mention air pollution. The stadium will reportedly be smaller than Turner Field in terms of capacity. Up go the ticket prices. Good luck bringing your kids to a ball game. I could go on and on. If we’re going to invest $450 million in infrastructure, how about some transportation alternatives? Oh wait – I forgot – we are Cobb County and we don’t deal with the public transportation riff-raff. We just fork over millions to millionaires for the privilege of having them in our midst. Then we’ll b*tch about the panhandlers who follow the crowds into our upper-middle-class bubble. Frankly, I’d rather be panhandled. At least then it’s my choice to give my money.

  56. BRW (or anyone), do you know the site the Braves are talking about? From Google Maps, it looks like it’s currently undeveloped — though it also looks like just barely enough for a modern baseball stadium (figure 12-15 acres) plus parking, let alone all the housing and retail development they’ve been talking about.

    Here’s the Braves’ image (ballpark icon not to scale — the width of that plot of land is about 1000 feet, and Turner Field, for example, is about 700 feet across):

  57. To clarify – the property itself is mostly wooded, but the area is quite developed and already very busy. The impact on local businesses would be profound, in my opinion, and any jobs created would likely be negated by those lost. Especially in retail, which is heavy in that area and would be completely gridlocked on game days. The area contains many office parks, clusters of retail businesses, and some apartment complexes.

  58. The location has mostly office parks. It’s bordered on the west by Cobb Parkway, the suburban strip with all the fast food crap you’d see anywhere else. Mostly mid-price apartments immediately around it as far as residential goes. It gets more wealthy a few miles east and about five, six miles north.

    The 75/285 interchange would need to be significantly reworked. I would guess this has been moved to the top of the list of highway projects and that we’ll find out about this soon. There’s no rail transit that goes anywhere close to the site so you’re left with buses that are stuck with the rest of the traffic, which is absolutely awful in this area. Will be interesting how they try to work this.

  59. I am far from a conservative voter, but let us not accuse those who identify as Tea Party voters as being hypocrites unless they actually act that way. We may find that in this instance they are outraged too.

    Atlanta should court the Devil Rays to play at Turner Field, then the Atlanta – Cobb County political rivalry could play out on the baseball field.

  60. And the lunacy continues…
    So much for the myth of the magical downtown mallpark.
    Bottom line is big league sports franchises go where the money is and that ain’t downtown Atlanta.
    So long, suckers! Glad we got to use ‘ya!

  61. The Rays could now move to a city that has a perfectly built staduim for them. MLB can’t stop them on this because it well seem illogical and monopolistic to reduce competition in the area

  62. “MLB can’t stop them on this because it well seem illogical and monopolistic to reduce competition in the area”

    I can only assume you meant that as a joke. Bud Selig’s big decision each morning is whether to be the race car or the top hat.

  63. “…Bud Selig’s big decision each morning is whether to be the race car or the top hat…”

    LOL. So that’s why he makes $18m or whatever it is annually… apparently that’s a more difficult decision than we could possibly imagine.

    Yes, they will run out of teachers to fire, quite correct. But there’s lots and lots of poor people in Georgia that they can make even poorer to help the corporate owners of the Braves. While I am certainly not a Tea Party supporter, and find their central ideology overly simplistic, they do seem to actually believe in it (unlike some other parties)… so I would be very surprised if this involves raising taxes.

    As for TIFs, well, they amount to the same thing as a tax increase when the services that those taxes should ordinarily help pay for now have to be paid for by tapping other revenue sources (IE: the general fund). When TIFs are set at a rate that actually could help pay for the project they are meant to fund as well as all the services that taxes normally pay for, don’t they tend to provide a significant disincentive for businesses to set up shop within the TIF zone? Is a $17 hamburger available within walking distance of the stadium a better deal than a $13 one a three minute walk/drive away?

  64. For what it’s worth, the Braves site now claims that the $450 Million Cobb County ‘public investment’ number is erroneous. They also state that the stadium will be owned by an entity of Cobb County, but that the Braves will run the day-to-day operations. I’m not sure what exactly the Braves would own if this were the case…

    Also, for what it’s worth:
    I’m a huge Braves fan.
    Turner Field is great place to see a baseball game.
    I understand their desire (but not their ‘need’) to move.
    I understand that the ‘tenant-landlord relationship’ is the proper way to view the Braves and Turner Field. As such, the Braves have no real, legal obligation to stay past their lease.
    Taxpayer money should not be used to buy stadia for for-profit firms, any more than Fulton County should pay to build Coca-Cola’s HQ, or Cobb County buying all or part of a new house for me.

    Peace be with you.

  65. @Neil. It seem that Neil sounds more like a PR guy for the Braves then I thought. Where the counter argument for the Braves moving to Cobb County when they have a perfectly built Ballpark in Atlanta. It seems like a bad ideal for MLB to allow it. There’s going to be a lot of blowback in the future where cities will start allowing teams to move because their tired of being use

  66. Their website is full of outright fabrications, one of the favorites is this: “Turner Field is a facility that was built for three weeks of use for the Olympics, but has now served us well for nearly 20 years. …” One look at an overhead view of Atlanta’s Olympic Stadium makes it plain: it was built with baseball in mind, with temporary seating to accommodate the Olympics. The Big Owe was a stadium built for the Olympics, (poorly) retrofitted for baseball.

  67. Just found this old article from the New York Times:

    The best part? Right here:
    “We would have done O.K. in the suburbs, but it would have been different,” said Stan Kasten, the former president of the Braves. “This kept us and enabled us to build the kind of stadium we wanted.”

    Kasten said the Braves were included in helping to design the stadium from the start because its destiny was baseball, not the Olympics.