Braves will leave Turner Field

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ATLANTA — Turner Field had a signature event right at the start – a trembling Muhammad Ali emerging from the shadows to ignite the flame that opened the 1996 Summer Olympics. In the years that followed, the Atlanta Braves had many memorable moments of their own, from a World Series and All-Star Game to the farewells of Bobby Cox and Chipper Jones.

Undeveloped land stands in the area where a new 42,000-seat, $672 million stadium will be built for the Atlanta Braves baseball team. The land is about 10 miles outside downtown Atlanta in Cobb County.  DAVID GOLDMAN/ASSOCIATED PRESS
DAVID GOLDMAN/ASSOCIATED PRESS
Undeveloped land stands in the area where a new 42,000-seat, $672 million stadium will be built for the Atlanta Braves baseball team. The land is about 10 miles outside downtown Atlanta in Cobb County.

Now, just 17 years after it opened, it looks as though the stadium affectionately known as “the Ted” is headed for extinction.
In a stunning announcement, the Braves said Monday they are moving in 2017 to a new 42,000-seat, $672 million stadium about 10 miles from downtown in Cobb County, swayed by a lucrative financial package that was just too good to pass up.

Mayor Kasim Reed said the city couldn’t match a $450 million offer from one of Atlanta’s sprawling northern suburbs, though it wasn’t immediately clear how the county of some 700,000 people plans to raise the money or whether it will require a vote of the taxpayers.

Mike Plant, the Braves executive vice president of business operations, said the team has not signed a contract with Cobb County, but he’s “100 percent certain it will happen.”

“It was with mixed emotions that we made this decision,” team president John Schuerholz said. “The new stadium, we believe, will be one of the most magnificent ever built.”

The Braves had made it clear for years they were not satisfied with Turner Field, near some of the city’s poorest neighborhoods. The team cited a lack of development, complaints about the closest MARTA rapid-transit station being about a mile away and the inability to secure more parking spaces.

The city’s talks with the Braves broke down over the summer. The mayor made it sound like the city never had a chance after Cobb County officials made their offer for a site that will give the organization more options for commercial development, including restaurants, retail, hotels and entertainment facilities.

Despite the lack of any rapid-transit in Cobb County and the stadium site being next to one of the city’s most congested interchanges – a swath of interstates that are as wide as seven lanes – the Braves insisted the new stadium could provide easier access because of a planned “circulator” bus system.

Derek Schiller, the team’s executive vice president of sales and marketing, declined to reveal how much taxpayers will be responsible for, saying that information and the length of the lease will be made public soon. The Cobb Marietta Coliseum and Exhibit Hall Authority will own the stadium. Construction is scheduled to begin next summer.

The Braves launched a Web site, homeofthebraves.com, that said the new stadium would be closer to the geographic center of the team’s fan base.

Also, Census data shows the team is moving to a much more prosperous area, with a median household income of about $61,000 and a poverty level of 8.6 percent, compared to $23,000 and nearly 40 percent for the neighborhood surrounding Turner Field.

Bucking the trend of pro teams seeking stadiums and arenas closer to the city center, the Braves’ new facility will be part of a 60-acre development near Cobb Galleria mall. Plant compared it to new ballparks in Cincinnati, San Diego and Houston and with L.A. Live, which hosts the NBA’s Los Angeles Lakers and Clippers and the NHL’s Kings at Staples Center.

“With our current location, we couldn’t control that process,” Plant said. “This site allows us to do that.”

Turner Field opened as the 85,000-seat main stadium for the 1996 Olympics, hosting athletics and the opening and closing ceremonies.

After the Olympics, the stadium was renamed after former Braves owner Ted Turner, downsized to about 50,000 seats and converted to a baseball park for the 1997 season, replacing Atlanta-Fulton Stadium across the street. The old stadium was imploded and turned into a parking lot for the new facility, just a week after the city’s Omni coliseum met the same fate.

As Turner Field, the park has hosted the 1999 World Series, 2000 All-Star Game and four National League Championship Series.

Commissioner Bud Selig endorsed the team’s decision, even though Turner Field is newer than 14 of Major League Baseball’s other 29 stadiums.

Reed said he’s already been in discussions with several organizations about redeveloping the entire Turner Field corridor after the Braves complete their 20-year lease in 2016.

The Falcons are also scheduled to move into their new stadium in 2017, a downtown facility that will be built next door to the Georgia Dome. The old stadium will be leveled after its replacement opens.

Now, it looks like Turner Field is headed for the same fate.

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GiantsAllDay
10287
Points
GiantsAllDay 11/11/13 - 09:57 am
1
4
I think this will be good for

I think this will be good for the Braves. Have a stadium designed and built from the get-go with baseball in mind. At 42,000 seats the fans will be closer to the game and they'll enjoy it more.

"Ray, people will come Ray. They'll come to Iowa for reasons they can't even fathom. They'll turn up your driveway not knowing for sure why they're doing it. They'll arrive at your door as innocent as children, longing for the past. Of course, we won't mind if you look around, you'll say. It's only $20 per person. They'll pass over the money without even thinking about it: for it is money they have and peace they lack. And they'll walk out to the bleachers; sit in shirtsleeves on a perfect afternoon. They'll find they have reserved seats somewhere along one of the baselines, where they sat when they were children and cheered their heroes. And they'll watch the game and it'll be as if they dipped themselves in magic waters. The memories will be so thick they'll have to brush them away from their faces. People will come Ray. The one constant through all the years, Ray, has been baseball. America has rolled by like an army of steamrollers. It has been erased like a blackboard, rebuilt and erased again. But baseball has marked the time. This field, this game: it's a part of our past, Ray. It reminds of us of all that once was good and it could be again. Oh... people will come Ray. People will most definitely come."
- Wayne L. Osborne

bright idea
860
Points
bright idea 11/11/13 - 09:59 am
4
0
Surely

Surely this is a ploy to gain leverage over Turner Field. There is no way traffic at that location, especially on week day afternoons, will allow for a timely entrance into the new stadium. I-75 North at I-285 is a nightmare without a ball game. The Braves will need to be really good to make fans willing to battle that. They must have studies showing that most fans come from Chattanooga.

David Parker
7923
Points
David Parker 11/11/13 - 10:06 am
2
0
Only place I've ever seen a

Only place I've ever seen a Brave play live or a Falcon for that matter was Fulton County Stadium. Old Skool baby. Sad if I never get to sit in Turner and catch a foul ball or somethin.

Little Lamb
47950
Points
Little Lamb 11/11/13 - 10:28 am
4
0
Watch Out

After the move, don't you think the Atlanta Fulton County Recreation Authority will start looking for a minor league team to rent Turner Field? Citizens of North Augusta had better watch out!

Riverman1
90449
Points
Riverman1 11/11/13 - 10:36 am
3
0
Georgia Dome and Now Turner

Georgia Dome and Now Turner Field. Stunned. What's going to happen to Turner Field?

LL, I know you're kind of joking, but Turner Field is too big for a minor league team. I'm guessing it will be torn down and that's a shame.

jamc1103
141
Points
jamc1103 11/11/13 - 10:50 am
5
1
I follow the Braves closely

and I had no idea this was coming. From the Braves point of view, I can see where this Stadium will be a plus. It will be smaller than Turner Field, and more in line with the size of other baseball stadiums. It is closer to the suburbs where most of the fans are from. As far as traffic goes in that area, the stadium will be on the Marta line. Tuner field isn't, and that has been a problem. Turner feld isn't easy to get to for afternoon games either, considering it is on the opposite side of town from most attending fans.
However, as a fan from Augusta, Turner Field was easy to get in and out of quickly if you parked in the right lot. I am not a fan of this move out of downtown.

my.voice
5085
Points
my.voice 11/11/13 - 10:52 am
4
1
I guess North Augusta

I guess North Augusta couldn't swing a deal.

justthefacts
23998
Points
justthefacts 11/11/13 - 10:54 am
2
0
Cobb County Braves

Yep, traffic will be a nightmare. No mass transit. But, there will be more to do pre and post game. More restaurants/bars in the general area. I wish they, or the Falcons, would use the old General Motors site. It is a great location.

justthefacts
23998
Points
justthefacts 11/11/13 - 10:55 am
4
0
jamc1103

Marta doesn't run to Cobb County.

gbhs
75
Points
gbhs 11/11/13 - 10:59 am
4
0
Since when is Cobb County on

Since when is Cobb County on the MARTA line?! They shot down that proposal. Traffic is already a nightmare...this will make it worse.

bright idea
860
Points
bright idea 11/11/13 - 11:18 am
4
0
Traffic

The traffic nightmare will not only be local to the stadium site but for fans east and south of downtown ATL. You either fight straight through downtown or go around on I-285. There is no current MARTA to this new location. Cobb citizens refused MARTA years ago. New stadium will look good on TV but Braves will need to win big to come close to filling it 81 times per year. For a franchise that won't spend big on players it seems odd to spend on a new park unless Cobb gave them a sweet deal.

itsanotherday1
46878
Points
itsanotherday1 11/11/13 - 11:19 am
2
2
I don't see any real

I don't see any real difference in access beyond lack of Marta creating more vehicle traffic. I suspect there will be shuttle bus service available for remote parking.

The major plus (as already pointed out) is available amenities pre and post game. At Turner field there is only one place that I know of to get pre-game refreshments outside of the stadium.

I'M LOVING IT!

rmwhitley
5547
Points
rmwhitley 11/11/13 - 11:53 am
0
0
Turner Field
Unpublished

is in a high crime and high run for your life area. kasim reed, how are you going to spin this failure? Just like your lying hero, obama?

soapy_725
43949
Points
soapy_725 11/11/13 - 12:10 pm
1
0
Planned obsolescence to rook the taxpayers. Can't be the age.
Unpublished

Planned obsolescence to rook the taxpayers. Can't be the age.

soapy_725
43949
Points
soapy_725 11/11/13 - 12:11 pm
1
0
Asphalt & concrete. Money makers. And it is all about MONEY.
Unpublished

Not about athletic competition. Marketing & money. Screw the taxpayers.

jamc1103
141
Points
jamc1103 11/11/13 - 12:15 pm
1
0
I know that Marta doesn't run there now...

In the the Brave's GM's statement, he talks about mass transit options being a new plus at the stadium. I wouldn't be suprised if they don't tie into the Marta somehow. It might not be trains, but I could see buses. Or they have someting planned that they aren't saying yet.

Little Lamb
47950
Points
Little Lamb 11/11/13 - 12:33 pm
1
1
Transit

Jamc, Cobb County runs its own bus system. They can tailor-make a bus shuttle for ball games.

Marinerman1
5300
Points
Marinerman1 11/11/13 - 12:44 pm
3
0
No More TED

This Atlanta native is really crushed. Did get a chance to sit in the old Atlanta-Fulton County stadium one last time to see Olympic baseball with my Dad and Brother. Then they tore down the Omni, now The Georgia Dome probably, and now the TED.....one sad puppy...

justthefacts
23998
Points
justthefacts 11/11/13 - 01:21 pm
2
1
Arthur Blank

Wonder how Mr. Blank feels when he sees the Braves doing exactly what he should have done instead of letting Atlanta gov't officials shake him down.

Haki
31
Points
Haki 11/11/13 - 03:40 pm
4
0
Am I on the "right" website?

"It’s not clear how much it will cost taxpayers."

Where's the outrage?

floridasun
343
Points
floridasun 11/11/13 - 07:36 pm
2
0
Very Bad Idea

This is one of the most congested freeway intersections in Atlanta area already.
Moving the Braves to this intersection will make it even worse
Plus it will add about 3o minutes to the trip from Augusta
Guess I will just stick with the GreenJackets and their new stadium

seenitB4
93609
Points
seenitB4 11/12/13 - 06:17 am
2
1
TrukinRanger
1748
Points
TrukinRanger 11/12/13 - 06:26 am
0
0
This gets the stadium out of
Unpublished

This gets the stadium out of the projects and back into an area where they can have restaurants, stores, PARKING, around the stadium. The article mentioned a circulator bus service so they're addressing the public transit.... but that would more than likely be Cobb County Transit. Too bad MARTA isn't up there... a train station would be ideal to bring in people from the region and then it wouldn't matter what the traffic outside was like.

LuvMyTown
2009
Points
LuvMyTown 11/12/13 - 06:48 am
2
1
Bad move

Young professionals are moving into downtown Atlanta, the Virginia Highlands and Midtown areas especially. By moving the Braves are chasing their old fan base instead adding a newer, younger crowd. With no MARTA connection this is a lousy location for Augusta fans too.

Little Lamb
47950
Points
Little Lamb 11/12/13 - 07:50 am
1
0
Location

@LuvMyTown — Neither Virginia Highlands nor Midtown is "downtown Atlanta."

Little Lamb
47950
Points
Little Lamb 11/12/13 - 07:54 am
1
0
Financing

Ooooops, I didn't go back and re-read the story:

Atlanta mayor Mayor Kasim Reed said the city couldn’t match a $450 million offer from one of Atlanta’s sprawling northern suburbs, though it wasn’t immediately clear how the county of some 700,000 people plans to raise the money or whether it will require a vote of the taxpayers.

All Cobb County needs to do is hire Fred (What, me worry?) Russell to seal the deal. He will dazzle the property owners by telling them the tax increase for the ball park will cost the person with a $100,000 house "only $35 a year."

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