If you’re at least a semi-regular reader of this site, you’re probably aware that the Atlanta Braves‘ pedestrian bridge to get fans to its new stadium isn’t going too well: Nobody’s sure yet how much it will cost or who’ll pay for it, and it won’t be ready by the time the stadium opens in April 2017. In fact, you might be tempted to conclude that everything that could go wrong already has — but you would be incorrect, because this just happened:
A high-placed source tells Around Town it’s unlikely the Cobb-Marietta Coliseum and Exhibit Hall Authority will agree to build the controversial “Braves Bridge” over Interstate 285 that would link the county’s Galleria Convention Centre — and its hundreds of parking spaces — and the SunTrust Field complex…
BUT AT THE END of the day, the key player on the bridge’s fate may well be the other major player on the Galleria “campus” — Childress Klein Properties. The real estate giant must have ironclad assurances that the many blue-chip tenants of its massive office towers there won’t see their parking disrupted. That goes for the upscale Renaissance Waverly Hotel, too, which adjoins the Galleria.
And Childress Klein might hold not one, but two trump cards when it comes to the bridge. That is, not only does CK own the air rights over the Galleria property and its decks, but CK — not the county or state — also owns the roads that snake around and through the campus. It’s hard to see how any bridge or overpass could be built there without CK’s OK.
Seriously? You go and build a stadium in the middle of a woodland next to a suburban highway intersection, with the plan being that fans will park across the highway and walk over a bridge to get to games, and you don’t even get permission to build the bridge before you build the stadium?
Okay, so this is all unnamed sources, and even if things are as bad as they sound, it’s always possible the Braves and/or Cobb County could paper things over with money to make up for lost Galleria parking. (As somebody famous may have famously noted, everyone has their price.) Still, it’s unlikely the Marietta Daily Journal is just making up the land rights issues — plus, Cobb County commission chair Tim Lee just declared today that the bridge would be delayed at least a year, declaring, “Make no mistake, I am not rethinking the idea of the bridge,” which is the kind of thing one usually says when one is rethinking the idea of the bridge.
All this has come to pass, of course, because in order to get the Braves stadium deal signed off on fast, in addition to hiring secret lawyers, Lee and the rest of the county commission signed off on building the stadium without finalizing a transportation plan. That was almost two years ago, and the transportation plan may still not be ready for months yet, no doubt at least in part because no one knows yet whether there’ll be a way to get from your car to the game.
On the bright side, the Braves are likely to be terrible for the foreseeable future, so it’s not like anybody’s going to be clamoring to actually get to the games. Does the Galleria parking lot have WiFi?