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Groundbreaking held for Atlanta United's Franklin Gateway complex

With a backhoe and some shovels officials broke ground Tuesday on Marietta's Franklin Gateway Sports Complex — training field for Atlanta United.

The $60-million training complex will span 30,000 square feet and is slated to be completed in April 2017.

Team owner Arthur Blank has voiced that he hopes Atlanta will become a top destination for soccer in America.

The six fields — three grass and three artificial — are scheduled to be finished by January 2017. The inaugural training camp will start the end of January.

This facility will house the team, its academy and its front office.

The city of Marietta approved the plan in January 2014, but eyes have been on the area for some years.

One of the redevelopment bonds Marietta residents passed in November 2013 was a $64 million bond effort for Franklin Gateway Redevelopment.

Since then, Franklin Road bond funds have bought four aging apartment complexes, leading to new private investment, which led to 1,120 jobs in the corridor.

The city was given a $45,000 grant from the U.S. Soccer Foundation for lighting at the new complex in April.

The groundbreaking capped a busy couple of days for Atlanta United, which earned the top pick of the Major League Soccer expansion draft with the flip of a coin. 

Check out more pictures from the groundbreaking event and watch  a short video, both from the city of Marietta:

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