Cobb County is bulldozing 30 homes to make way for road to Braves stadium

What’s worse than living in Cobb County and having to pay more than $355 million toward a new Atlanta Braves stadium, plus dealing with a traffic and transit mess because the county didn’t approve a transportation plan before agreeing to build the stadium? I’m going to go with “having to pay more than $355 million toward a new Atlanta Braves stadium, plus dealing with a traffic and transit mess because the county didn’t approve a transportation plan before agreeing to build the stadium, plus having your house torn down to make way for the whole mess“:

Tuesday night, Cobb County informed me I’d have to find a new front door, and a new house, because they’re bulldozing both to build a new road…

Why this new road? So the folks who take the new managed lanes along Interstate 75 can easily hop off the freeway at Terrell Mill Road and get to the new stadium quickly. The stadium I was so happy about.

If it wasn’t all so ironic, I would cry.

County officials say they’re seizing 16 homes by eminent domain — and possibly as many as another 15 — for a road project that had been planned for years, but was expedited because of the opening of the stadium next year. So you can’t exactly say “Cobb County is bulldozing 30 homes to make way for a road to Braves stadium” — actually, you can totally say that, even if they might have maybe done it at some point with or without the Braves. Economic development, everybody!

9 comments on “Cobb County is bulldozing 30 homes to make way for road to Braves stadium

  1. I never thought I’d see a worse example of eminent domain abuse than Barclays Center but this one has to take the cake. At least with Barclays Center, you really only had one last holdout in Daniel Goldstein and getting rid of his home was needed in order to build the actual arena.

    Now, you’re talking about anywhere from 16 to 30 homes to be done away with just to build a stupid road that apparently isn’t really needed.

    This is about as bad as it gets in the stadium subsidy world. Given a choice, I much rather lose a few cups of coffee a month over losing my home for what amounts to not much above fair market value for the house.

    • If it was up to me all eminent domain projects (only if really needed, not for a shopping mall) would be 150% of the value of the home plus moving costs.

      If you’re going to force someone to move at least compensate them for it.

  2. The eminent domain part does stink but you really need to click and read the article and have a bit of backstory to appreciate what a piece of work the guy being quoted is. He was all in for the stadium when he thought it’d be other people getting dumped on while he was going to enjoy his home value shooting up and all kinds of bars and restaurants springing up nearby. But the moment he discovered he was one of the have nots in the deal his tune instantly changed.

    There are some priceless lines in there including him going on about how it was the only home he and his wife had ever had when they’e only been there for like 3 years, how his unborn kids will be deprived by never getting to drive by the house their parents had lived in before they were ever born, etc. It’s just him and his wife having to move and he’s beside himself while almost assuredly he has neighbors whose kids will have to switch schools and undergo far more hardship from the deal. He only cared about himself when he was for the stadium and can’t see past his own nose now that he opposes it.

    • I loved the “kids won’t be able to see the first house they would come home to from the hospital” line, when he doesn’t already have those kids. So these are hypothetical kids on a hypothetical trip. His actual kids WILL get to see the house they came home to presuming the family stays there.

      • Many years ago my parents drove me past their 1st apartment. I was like, “That’s nice.” Same deal with the 1st house I lived in. I wasn’t even 2 when we left.
        Are writers supposed to make their articles as stupid & outrageous as possible to get clicks?

  3. I changed my mind. I thought the pending Raiders’ deal in Vegas (which is rapidly falling apart at the seams, which is a great thing for us local taxpayers) replaced Cobb as the worst deal but I am reminded every day the Southerners do not want to easily relinquish the title. Typically eminent domain is used for vital infrastructure projects or the more sinister economic improvements to a dilapidated area (as perceived by politicians and their private financiers). This is neither.

    The Cobb County Braves should be ashamed of themselves. Best believe they are secretly behind every one of these measures. Since they are playing in Cobb County near Cumberland Mall, Atlanta should force them to remove the name and change it. How are they benefiting? None of that tax revenue is going to the city; it’s all going (allegedly) to Cobb County.

    Metro Atlanta is a very interesting area. I’ve lived and visited nearly every major metro in the country. Metro Atlanta is the only one that doesn’t have a comprehensive transportation plan because none of the 20+ counties that comprise it actually get along. Each county has its own transport system, of which they rarely intersect. MARTA was suppose to be it, but places like Cobb County restricted its expansion, fearing an increase in the number of people from a certain ethnic group (i.e. black) and the purported crime and vagrancy they may bring. Having said all that, what Cobb County politicians have done and continue to do to the citizens is nothing short of a stick-up. All to watch a pathetically ran franchise owned by a telecom magnate who could afford to pay for this stadium 10x over.

  4. Amusing. Somebody in that neighborhood must’ve really pissed off the county transportation department. Or somebody with some connected friends owns some land that they’re looking to sell. This looks like a particularly nasty little boondoggle.

    The neighborhood is a mile-plus north of the new stadium. The future “managed”/toll lanes exit off I-75 is 1.6 miles north of the stadium. There are already two major roads that can take traffic back south, each less than a mile from I-75. One to the east (6-lane Powers Ferry Road) and one to the west (4-line US 41/Cobb Parkway). The new sized-to-fit-through-a-neighborhood connector will slice a massive 1.5 miles off the voyage for those who choose the easterly option. Again – this is only for those folks coming to the area using the new I-75 toll lanes. “Regular” I-75 will still have an exit at the southern end of this connector.

    Even worse, there’s an existing road (Leland Road) between I-75 and the planned road that would only need to be extended 1,200 feet to achieve the same connectivity. The project does have the added benefit of taking out a nice chunk of green space in an already pretty much denuded area.

    • It could well be that the road being built is less about the stadium and traffic management for it than for future use/later development of adjacent sites.

      If the county wants the land it will get it (whether they need it or use it or not… that’s the sad part, they can buy it and just not use it if they so choose). Under Eminent Domain the requirement generally is to provide enough money for the ‘damaged’ party to buy or build what they had in no better and no worse an area, plus a small additional amount meant to cover the costs of moving and “inconvience” etc.

      If the homeowners are not offered at least a 10% premium on replacement cost, they should hire lawyers. I would assume they are doing that.

  5. I can appreciate the concern the homeowners have in this. No-one likes to be subject to compulsory purchase, even if the project is for the ‘greater good’ (as Mr. Breslin indicated, he was a supporter of the stadium and feels it is good for the community).

    Nevertheless, Mr. Breslin will fair market value for his home, plus a small percentage for the “nuisance” factor (once the lawyers have worked the details out). I would expect he and his fellow homeowners will be paid an amount equal to the cost of purchasing a comparable property in the region, with a 10-15% bonus to cover the cost of moving, fees etc. Contrast that with the fate of the people living on the site of Turner field prior to the Olympic construction boom in the early 1990s…

    Obviously the county’s first offer isn’t going to be so good that everyone just grabs it and runs… they are spending tax dollars on the eminent domain play after all (even if they don’t act like responsible tax dollar stewards in other ways… like the stadium itself).

    I’m tempted to say the county should have hired a realtor to try and assemble the properties in an open marketplace first, but that wouldn’t have worked for most of the owners. They would have demanded a huge premium because their homes are “so close” to the facility. Since the county plans to demolish the 80’s vintage townhouses to build a road (and whether this is necessary or even wise is irrelevant to the discussion – the county has sole authority to make planning decisions like that), they would be purchasing properties at a perceived value based on a complete fallacy. These homes will not be close to the stadium. In fact, they will not be homes at all.

    Mr. Breslin is free to whine all he wants. The fact is he will be made whole on this deal, and then some. It didn’t seem to bother him that other people would be inconvenienced to bring his team closer to him, so he should not be crying foul now that he faces some upheaval himself.