Taxpayer cost of Braves stadium passes $350m, heads for $400m

Atlanta Braves fans worried about having to get to the new stadium by running across a six-lane highway, rejoice! The Cobb County Commission yesterday approved $10 million for a new pedestrian bridge from the planned parking lots to the stadium, which will surely — wait, what’s that, Atlanta Journal Constitution report from two months ago?

Oh, right, the land — the county still needs to acquire that from its private owners, which may require eminent domain. (A county spokesperson told reporters of land costs, “The right of way is still in negotiations so we can’t release any figures.”) Also money needs to be found for an upgraded parking deck to connect to the bridge. Also also, nobody is really convinced that the bridge can be built for $10 million, so this could easily be one of those Robert Moses-esque schemes to build half of a bridge and then find the rest of the money later — as Moses liked to say, “‘Once you sink that first stake, they’ll never make you pull it up.”

The commission also approved another $13 million to widen a highway and create a new pedestrian plaza (not the one eliminated last month, I don’t think, but on the other side of the interstate). So add that to the known costs that the public is already on the hook for, and we’re at a minimum of $355 million in taxpayer subsidies, plus whatever the land and parking deck upgrades will go for. If it hits $400 million, don’t be surprised — this is what happens when you sign a deal to build a stadium project before you figure out how much it’s going to cost.

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10 comments on “Taxpayer cost of Braves stadium passes $350m, heads for $400m

  1. As the crow flies, it would be something like 1/4 mile to get from the Cumberland Galleria parking lots to the stadium site.

    It wouldn’t be any worse than the walk in Pittsburgh, but with a view of suburban sprawl instead of the river.

  2. The bridge walkway looks significantly narrower than the ones in Pittsburgh as well. I’d compare it more to the one from the BART in Oakland.

  3. Widening a highway is not a stadium subsidy anymore than building a sidewalk is a homeowner subsidy.

  4. …and if that sidewalk isn’t paid for by the homeowner (or developer) it is also a subsidy. Small, yes. Justifiable, perhaps. But undeniably a subsidy.

  5. If the price tag hits $400M, the tax revenue generated in the booming Cumberland area will be significantly greater so it remains a huge win for Cobb County no matter the perspective.

  6. How do you figure that, Kemp? Cobb will steal a bit of revenue from Atlanta with this move, sure, but $400m seems an order of magnitude or two more than what’s possible just from a baseball stadium.

  7. “It wouldn’t be any worse than the walk in Pittsburgh, but with a view of suburban sprawl instead of the river.”

    More like, a view of gridlocked I-285 stretching as far as the eye can see in both directions, with the added bonus of inhaling all the toxic car and truck emissions. Beautiful.

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