The Atlanta Braves intend to move from Turner Field to a stadium about 10 miles from downtown, the team announced Monday.
Turner Field, the club’s present home, is 17 years old — relatively young by stadium standards — and was constructed as part of the 1996 Olympics. The scene of the opening and closing ceremonies as well as athletic events, it became the Braves’ home in 1997. On Monday, Braves President John Schuerholz said in a video on HomeoftheBraves.com, that it needs “hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of upgrades.”
The new stadium will be located at the I-75 and I-285 intersection in Cobb County, where most of the team’s tickets are sold. On its website, the team explains that:
The reason for moving is simple. The current location has certain issues that are insurmountable and will only become more problematic over the years. These fundamental issues involve how you, our fans, access Turner Field. There is a lack of consistent mass transportation, a lack of sufficient parking and a lack of direct access to interstates. Furthermore, the Braves do not have control over the development of our immediate surroundings.
Our new location will give us the opportunity to develop the surrounding area of the new ballpark, transforming it into a mixed use, 365-day destination and creating an enhanced atmosphere for our fans during Braves games. There also will be significantly increased access to the site, enhanced parking opportunities, and, generally, easier access to and from major roadways with a variety of other transportation options.
The new stadium is projected to cost $672 million, including parking, land and infrastructure, and will be built in partnership with Cobb County, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. The team declined to specify just how the new digs will be financed and how much of the investment will be funded by taxpayers. “It is through Cobb County, and Cobb County will be responsible for delineating the various buckets of dollars,” Derek Schiller, vice president of sales and marketing for the team, said.
The move, which is expected to occur in 2018, bucks a recent trend of building in downtown areas and Atlanta’s MARTA rapid-transit system doesn’t service the area, but it’s definitely a migration to where the fans are.