The Atlanta United FC MLS team struck a deal last week to build a practice facility in DeKalb County (that’s the other county that part of Atlanta is in, along with Fulton), and yawn, soccer practice facility, right? Except that today the indefatigable Atlanta Journal Constitution has dug up how much money and tax breaks the county would be providing for the project, and yowza:
- The county would provide $12 million to United owner Arthur Blank for new parks department offices and demolition and land preparation.
- The county would provide 41 acres of government-owned land for free.
- The whole thing would be property-tax free.
- The county would “pursue funding for” a pedestrian walkway to the nearby MARTA transit station.
Okay, that’s still not a huge amount as these things go — I don’t know how much property taxes would be (and the AJC doesn’t say) or how much a pedestrian walkway costs, but counting the cash, total maybe $20-30 million tops? How much is the practice facility going to cost, anyway?
The $30 million soccer complex would be built near the intersection of Interstate 285 and Memorial Drive, behind the DeKalb Jail.
On the bright side, the county would get a whole 15% of any naming-rights fees for the complex (which will include a 3,500-seat grandstand, because everybody wants to watch MLS players practice, right?), plus the county can use it when United doesn’t have dibs, which given that the MLS season runs March through November is likely to be not very often. And to think that some county commissioners aren’t convinced this is a great thing! Freakin’ NIMBYs.