The Atlanta Braves wanted to earn at least $200 million through redeveloping the area around Turner Field — with new apartments, restaurants and hotels — in exchange for staying in their current home another 20 years, a document obtained Thursday by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution shows.
The document show a wish list of pricey upgrades, including transit improvements and unspecified changes to vehicular access to Turner Field.
The proposal, though specific to the area around The Ted, also gives insight into what the team might want to build in Cobb County.
In the document dated Sept. 19, the Braves proposed the development of 500 apartments, 375 hotel rooms, and 50 condos and townhomes, along with space for retail, restaurants and offices in parking lots around the ballpark. But city officials and the team were at odds over how big of a role the Braves should play in the redevelopment of the area.
The team has said it wants its Cobb ballpark to be a year-round destination, though the document to the city of Atlanta doesn’t highlight any particular megawatt attractions.
The team saidit needed deck parking for 8,600 vehicles at Turner Field, unspecified improvements for vehicular access to the stadium, and new transit options such as maglev trains, light rail, buses or trolleys. The Braves have cited traffic and parking at the stadium, among other things, as serious problems for fans.
Another key to the proposal was that the Braves would be guaranteed the greater of $10 million annually (inflation adjusted) or 25 percent of all revenue from district for 20 years. That would provide at least a guaranteed $200 million revenue stream to the team over the life of the proposed 20-year lease.
A Braves spokeswoman did not immediately return messages seeking comment.
The Braves’ Turner Field proposal was so specific it banned fast food restaurants, but would permit a single coffee shop, such as a Starbucks or a Dunkin’ Donuts. It also prohibited more than two sports bars and two fine dining restaurants in the development, and restricted them from being within about a quarter-mile of the ballpark’s northern gates.
The document states the Braves do not want “adult entertainment clubs, pawn shops, tattoo parlors, liquor stores, title loan shops, automotive shops or other industrial business or any establishments that may be offensive or vulgar to the community or Braves’ fans.”
In January, several developers responding to a request for ideas from Invest Atlanta, the city’s economic development agency, expressed their interest and vision for the Turner Field area. The developers pitched new transit connections and ideas to turn the neighborhood into a thriving district of parks, residences, restaurants and entertainment.
The September document didn’t just spell out redevelopment wishes, but also proposed financial obligations and expanded rights that the Braves wanted. These included an end to stadium oversight by the Atlanta-Fulton County Recreation Authority, a board of county and city appointees that govern the stadium.
The document showed the Braves’ request for $153 million in infrastructure improvements from 2016-2018 to be funded equally by the team, the city and/or Fulton County, and the recreation authority.
Those specific improvements were not spelled out in the document obtained by the AJC, but the Braves noted the figure did not include $80 million in architectural related improvements that the Braves wanted to increase revenue and to “keep Turner Field competitive” with other major league stadiums.
Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed has said the team wanted $150 million to $250 million in improvements to consider staying.
Hans Utz, Atlanta’s deputy chief operating officer, said the city agreed with the majority of the items in the proposal, but was still vetting it when the Braves announced its decision to relocate to Cobb. The administration believed it had until early November to figure out a way to come up with more than $100 million to meet the team’s requirements.
The Braves have offered few specifics for what they want on the 60-acre site in Cobb just northwest of the I-75/I-285 interchange. But the team has said it would like to see a district filled with people 365 days a year, not just for its 81 home games.
The Braves could soon kick off its search for a master development team.
Thursday, the Braves and Cobb County officials outlined the financing structure on the $672 million stadium. Cobb officials said the county would pick up $302 million of the upfront costs of the new ballpark.
What the Braves wanted:
- Guaranteed annual revenue from the redevelopment project of $10 million (inflation adjusted) or 25 percent of all annual gross revenue from the project for the life of the 20-year lease renewal
- 500 apartments
- 375 hotel rooms
- 50 condo and townhome units
- 20,000 square feet of retail, 100,000 square feet of retail/restaurant space and 75,000 -square feet of office space.
- Deck parking for 8,600 cars
- $153 million in infrastructure upgrades to be paid for by the team, the city/Fulton County and the Atlanta-Fulton County Recreation Authority
- An additional $80 million in unspecified “architectural related improvements” to the stadium