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. The issue isn’t the Turner Field we play in today, but instead whether or not the venue can remain viable for another 20 to 30 years.
Turner Field has served the Braves well since 1997, but it is in need of major infrastructure work, which will cost around $150 million. These upgrades are functional ones, such as replacing worn-out seats or upgrading the stadium’s lighting, and they would do little to significantly enhance the fan experience. If the Braves were to pay for additional projects focused on improving the fan experience, the additional costs could exceed $200 million.
Those upgrades still wouldn’t address the logistical challenges outside the stadium – lack of consistent mass transit options, inadequate number of parking spaces and limited access to major highways.
Turner Field was given to the City of Atlanta following the 1996 Olympics. The Braves do not own or manage the facility and our lease expires in 2016. That being said, the organization has invested nearly $125 million into the facility for maintenance and improvements. The City of Atlanta and the Atlanta-Fulton County Recreation Authority will make the final decision on what to do with the property after the team moves.
BRED is an acronym for Braves Real Estate Development, LLC, the real estate holding company established by and operated as a subsidiary of the Atlanta Braves. The Braves created BRED in September 2013 and authorized it to acquire various parcels to ultimately assemble the property to build the proposed stadium and mixed-use development.
From the beginning of our discussions, it was important to the Atlanta Braves to find an arrangement that was in the best interest of our fans and our organization while also ensuring that the local community benefited from its portion of the investment. By taking on more than 90 percent of the upfront costs of the stadium, we are minimizing the amount that has to be bonded by Cobb County. In addition, we are paying another quarter of the stadium’s cost through yearly payments to the county. It is important to note that these numbers do not include the hundreds of millions of dollars the Braves will invest in our neighboring mixed use development or the thousands of jobs that will be created as a result of this project.
This is a very sound deal for the Braves, the Cobb tax payer, and the Cobb business community and we look forward to sharing additional details as the process moves forward.
The Capital Maintenance Fund provides for capital maintenance and repairs for the stadium with both the Braves and Cobb County making equal contributions to the fund, as well as being equally responsible for all capital improvements, maintenance and repairs as needed.
Separately, the Braves are responsible for all costs associated with stadium improvements that enhance the fan experience, such as building dining clubs, new ballpark amenities and fan zones.
Per the terms of the memorandum of understanding, the CMF will not be accessed for the first three years after the stadium opens. This enables the CMF to accumulate funds and build a reserve for use at a later date.
It is projected the Braves will spend approximately $1 million per year in routine maintenance and repairs over the course of the 30-year lease. Initial projections have CMF expenditures lower than current ones at Turner Field due to the use of new, modern construction materials which have a greater facility life span, as well as pre-construction decisions that lower the exposure to CMF utilization.
Transportation and Access
We are currently working with Cobb County DOT and Georgia DOT to improve and enhance access points to the ballpark. As a point of comparison, in the 2014 season there are 55 weekday games, four of which are afternoon games.
Current roadway improvements include Windy Hill Diverging Diamond Interchange and corridor improvements extending from U.S. 41 to Powers Ferry – open to traffic first quarter 2017. (PDF)
• Windy Hill Road West: This SPLOST 2011 project improves Windy Hill Road from US 41/Cobb Pkwy. to I-75 from five-lanes to a six-lane divided (raised landscaped median) urban typical section with curb, gutter and sidewalks. Traffic signals will be upgraded and all new pedestrian accommodations will be included.
• Windy Hill Road East: This SPLOST 2011 project adds an eastbound lane to the current alignment from the bridge over Rottenwood Creek to Interstate North Pkwy/Spectrum Cir. The project, a 2005 SPLOST deferred project, will add an additional westbound lane from Interstate North Parkway/Spectrum Circle to Powers Ferry Road. Additional turn lanes will also be added to Windy Hill road east of Powers Ferry Road.
• Cobb Parkway from Akers Mill to Paces Mill – widening to six lanes currently under contract.
• Cobb Parkway/Chattahoochee River Bridge – currently under construction.
• Northwest Corridor I-75 Managed lanes from I-285 north to the I-575 split and from I-575 to Hickory Grove Road and on I-575 from I-75 to Sixes Road – open to traffic 2018.
Other roadway improvements under consideration include development to potential Windy Ridge Parkway Connector, operational improvements in the area, Windy Hill – Terrell Mill Connector, Cobb Parkway/I-285 Diverging Diamond Interchange, Cobb Pkwy/Cumberland/Spring Road Split Diamond and I-285 access to Circle 75 Parkway roundabout.
Cobb Community Transit has five bus routes currently serving the Cumberland area. Routes begin, end, or go through the Cumberland Transfer Center with Route 10 servicing Cumberland the most, up to 50 times each weekday with limited service on Saturday, and no service on Sunday. Cumberland Transfer Center also services the Cumberland Mall, Costco, and is also the transfer point to MARTA bus service and additional CCT routes passengers travel. MARTA Route 12 serves the Howell Mill Road/Cumberland area.
There are 14 access points to and from the stadium area:
- East: Terrell Mill Road, Windy Hill Road, Windy Ridge Parkway, I-285
- North: Powers Ferry Road, I-75, Cobb Parkway
- West: Windy Hill Road, Spring Road, I-285, Spring Hill Parkway, Cumberland Parkway
- South: Cobb Parkway, I-75
For more information on transportation to the new ballpark, please visit our Transportation page.
As a part of our Development of Regional Impact submittal, Kimley-Horne was asked to analyze the projected impact of the stadium on traffic in the area. That research showed that nearly $1 billion in planned surrounding transportation investments will ensure increased traffic will be effectively managed on game days and the other 280 days of the year.
There will be 14 access points to the site from varying directions, including Windy Hill Road, U.S. 41/Cobb Parkway and others, as well as 30 driveways that connect to the property itself.
The Georgia Department of Transportation is widening one of the bridges over U.S. 41/Cobb Parkway and is planning to widen the Windy Hill bridge over I-75 and add a diverging diamond interchange at the Windy Hill/I-75 interchange. Plans also call for widening Cobb Parkway from Paces Mill to Akers Mill Road.
Other transportation options are being explored to facilitate efficient traffic flow, including the utilization of the Cobb Community Transit bus system and a circulator connecting Cumberland-area businesses. Cobb County officials also plan sidewalk improvements around the site and have potential plans for a bus transit and pedestrian-only bridge connecting I-285 to the Galleria area.
Additionally, we are exploring several ways to take a proactive approach to best manage traffic flow, and that includes identifying new ways to help our fans prepare for the game day experience.
Lastly, the mixed-use development will change many of our fans’ game day behaviors, encouraging them to arrive early and stay late, allowing for traffic to be dispersed across a greater period of time.
The new stadium will feature approximately 6,000 spaces incorporated into the site, and the Braves are currently in discussions to utilize existing lots near the stadium which will add thousands of additional spaces within walking distance. The area surrounding the stadium, including the Cobb Galleria area, also features thousands of additional parking spaces that will be connected to the stadium via a circulator shuttle. The shuttle will make access to the site easy for those parking in nearby lots or coming from surrounding businesses.
The new stadium’s parking options will easily exceed the total number of parking places at Turner Field, allowing for easier ingress and egress due to the increased accessibility of the site.
It’s also important to note the new stadium will feature approximately 9,000 fewer seats than Turner Field.
For more information on parking at the new ballpark, please visit our Parking page.
Work is underway to move the lines, and it’s not uncommon at all for lines like these to be moved as part of the construction of new developments. The cost to move the lines is already accounted for in the total project costs.
Recently, the Braves have finalized a series of long-term contracts with their players. Are these player decisions being fueled by the new stadium?
The Braves have multiple sources of income for the organization, ranging from ticket sales to in-stadium purchases to licensing agreements and more. The more robust these revenue streams, the more competitive we can be in securing top-tier talent in the long term for the team. We have some of the best young talent in baseball on this team, and we felt it was in everyone’s best interest to sign these players to long-term deals.
One key factor in our increased revenue is the growth in our local and national television contracts. Two additional factors related to the stadium are long-term lease stability and revenue generated from the ancillary development. Our current stadium lease was expiring in 2017, and it is hard to make long-term projections and investments without having certainty regarding our stadium. The new stadium brings long-term stability to the franchise, which helps us plan for the future. Additionally, the ancillary development around the stadium allows us to generate revenue 365 days a year, which gives us more ability to invest back into the team.
Cobb County has initiated discussions with Dobbins Air Force Base and the preliminary feedback from the USAF is that given the location information provided, they don’t have any issues at this time. The proposed stadium is expected to be approximately 200 feet in height, which is less than the surrounding buildings.
Cobb County DOT Aviation Division will require an FAA study as part of their normal review process as required for all projects of a certain height. Based on discussions to date, we do not anticipate any requirement that we will not be able to address in a satisfactory manner with the county and the USAF. We understand the areas that need to be monitored and will take the necessary actions to resolve any issues and concerns.
No. The name on our jersey will still be “Atlanta Braves” and we have no plans to change our logo. Our new stadium will have an Atlanta address, and we will continue to be proud to represent the metro Atlanta area for the next 30 years and beyond.
The Braves have a rich legacy and storied history, and plans include moving the bricks to the new ballpark.
It’s important to remember the Braves do not own Turner Field. Instead, the City of Atlanta and the Atlanta-Fulton Recreation Authority own the facility. Any decisions about what to do with Turner Field will be made by the City of Atlanta.
The Braves have 218 full-time staff members and 1,753 game day employees. We spend a lot of our time training our employees. We always want to retain good, quality talent, and many of our game day employees have been with us for many years.