Braves to move to Cobb County in 2017

spedersen@ledger-enquirer.comNovember 11, 2013 

The Atlanta Braves plan to move to Cobb County in 2017, according to team president John Schuerholz.

In a message posted on the website Home of the Braves, Schuerholz said the team will be moving a "short distance" to the northwest intersection of I-75 and I-285. The estimated cost of the project is $672 million, of which the Braves and Cobb County will be significant investors. In addition, the Braves will cover all cost overruns for the construction of the stadium.

The deal will see Cobb putting up $450 million in financing, while the team contributes another $200 million, according to the AJC.

The Marietta Daily Journal first reported the story.

The project is scheduled to start in the second half of 2014. Cobb-Marietta Coliseum and Exhibit Hall Authority will own the stadium.

The Braves have played at Turner Field since 1997, and their 20-year lease will expire after the 2016 season. The stadium originally was built for the 1996 Olympics.

Schuerholz said in the video message that Turner Field "is in need of hundreds of millions of dollars of upgrades." In a FAQ on the website, officials say the stadium "needs $150 million in infrastructure work alone (replacing seats, repairing and upgrading lighting, etc.) … ."

But some issues can't be corrected, officials said. Those include how fans access Turner Field and lack of mass transportation, sufficient parking and direct access to interstates.

"Those are issues we cannot overcome," he said.

The team president said the Braves plan to transform the surrounding area in Cobb County, which he said is the "heart of Braves country."

According to a release on the website, the construction process will support more than 5,227 jobs and generate $235 million in payroll.

What will happen to Turner Field? Although the city owns the stadium, the Braves reportedly have invested nearly $125 million into the facility for maintenance and improvements. According to the website, 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.

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