The Atlanta Braves upped the ante on a new Cobb County ballpark by announcing a new entertainment district as part of the plan, driving the cost of the project over a billion dollars.
It's a pure development play for the Braves, who will pick up the costs of the $400-million, 45-acre development plan. The goal: to create an entertainment district that will attract fans even on days when the ballpark is empty. The idea of a joint entertainment district-sports facility is certainly not new -- the same sort of thing was done in Kansas City when Sprint Center opened along with the Power & Light District -- but it's proven hard to achieve, as the St. Louis Cardinals found out with a delayed Ballpark Village.
Still, the Braves think they have the right formula to pull off a year-round entertainment district. From the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:
“No one in the country has ever built a brand-new sports facility and created this kind of development at the same time,” Braves Executive Vice President Mike Plant told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “We believe this is the best example of a private-public partnership. And this has been a key part of this from Day One.”
The team plans to seek developers and others to help shoulder the cost of the project, and it emphasizes that no public funds will go into the mixed-use district. But Plant and Executive Vice President Derek Schiller said the franchise also could move forward without a partner, a move that would carry more risk — and potentially more reward....
The first phase of the project, timed to open along with the stadium ahead of the 2017 season, would largely consist of stores, restaurants and potentially a hotel. Team executives envision up to 1 million square feet in the initial development — roughly the size of a typical mall.
Down the road would come apartments, office space and amenities designed to keep a working professional near the ballpark.
The master plan is from HKS, by the way.
RELATED STORIES: Gone too soon, or good riddance? Thoughts in Turner Field's future demolition; Braves to pay $372M toward new ballpark, Cobb County $300M; Turner Field to be torn down in 2017; Braves to leave Turner Field, will build new Cobb County ballpark
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