What We Know (So Far) about the New Atlanta Braves Stadium
While we’ve grown accustomed to—and frankly quite tired of—drawn out public financing battles over proposed stadiums, the Atlanta Braves pulled off one of the biggest stadium surprises ever on Veterans Day, announcing a move to Cobb County with construction starting on a brand-new stadium in about half a year. Here’s what we know so far about the new digs:
• It will seat 41,000 to 42,000 fans, slightly less than the 49,500 Turner Field now holds.
• Expect an open-air concept.
• Construction will start in mid-2014 and it will open in time for the 2017 season.
• Atlanta has secured HKS Architects of Dallas to at least consult on the project. HKS is the firm that designed the Dallas Cowboys and Indianapolis Colts football stadiums, provided the design for the planned Minnesota Vikings stadium, and also designed the 10,000-seat Coolray Field, which opened in Lawrenceville, Ga., the home of the AAA Gwinnett Braves.
• The new stadium will sit at the intersection of Interstates 75 and 285 in Cobb County.
• But still expect an Atlanta address in the 30339 zip code.
• The new site is about 12 miles northwest of Turner Field
• The stadium will take up 15 acres of a 60-acre site that will feature ample parking and plenty of mixed-use development, everything from retail to hotels.
• The venue caters to vehicle traffic, with parking and no light rail service.
• Siting the stadium in Cobb County bucks the trend of deeply urban parks we’ve seen in Major League Baseball over the last 15 years.
• The Braves will sell naming rights for the new stadium.
• Of the $672 million pricetag, Cobb County will pay for $450 million. The Braves, who will initially pay $200 million, will also cover cost overruns.
• Turner Field, only leased and not owned by the Braves, was built for the 1996 Summer Olympics, and was turned over to the Braves after a retrofit for the 1997 season. The new stadium will also be publicly owned.
• There are 13 stadiums older than Turner Field in MLB, including Coors Field, which opened in 1995.
• Turner Field will be the newest MLB ballpark vacated.
• The newest stadium to be vacated is the 1987-opened Sun Life Stadium, which the Miami Marlins played in from 1993 until 2011. The stadium is still in use hosting football.
Tim Newcomb covers stadiums, design and technology for Sports Illustrated. Follow him on Twitter at @tdnewcomb.