The Battery Atlanta saw an increase in economic activity last year, providing Cobb County and the Atlanta Braves with some positive signs from the SunTrust Park project.
About to enter its third season of operation, SunTrust Park was built as part of a larger project that includes the adjacent mixed-use development The Battery Atlanta. Some businesses in The Battery Atlanta were up and running during the ballpark’s inaugural 2017 season, but new businesses and a growth in activity there was a large factor in the project generating more tax revenue for Cobb County in 2018. As a result, Cobb County was to able to cut the amount of revenue taken from its general fund to cover debt service and ballpark expenses.
After taking over $8 million from the general fund in 2017, Cobb County was able to reduce that total to $5.8 million in 2018. Officials are cautioning that that rate of economic growth is not one that cannot be expected annually, but they nonetheless believe that it will be part of a positive upward for the ballpark project’s economic impact. More from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:
[County chairman Mike] Boyce credited the county with cutting costs, including striking a deal with the hotels to put more tourism dollars toward police overtime at the stadium.
But the biggest difference was a sharp increase in taxable property inside The Battery, causing a bump to revenue collection.
“Obviously it’s not going to continue at that rate because we had a lot of things come online last year,” said Cobb Finance Director Bill Volckmann. Nevertheless, he said, the county’s share of the cost has come down, a trend he expects to continue.
Although it might take years for the full economic implications of the project to be realized, the SunTrust Park model of tying a new ballpark into surrounding mixed-use development is one that teams at both the major and minor league levels are increasingly exploring. That could mean that its financial progression is watched closely over the coming years, particularly if more teams seek to incorporate a development aspect into their facility plans.