Braves break ground on new spring-training complex today


NORTH PORT, FLA. – A groundbreaking ceremony will be held Monday for the Braves’ new spring-training complex in southwest Florida, just 16 months before the team intends to hold its first workout at the $100-million facility. 

The stadium and training complex will be built on former ranch land in the West Villages development in the southern Sarasota County city of North Port. 

History: Braves’ spring training homes

The project, which got its final governmental approvals last month, will officially begin its construction phase with Monday afternoon’s ceremony, which is expected to draw officials from Sarasota County, North Port, the Braves, the West Villages Improvement District and West Villages home-builder Mattamy Homes. 

The construction schedule is aggressive, with the Braves planning to begin holding spring training in the facility in 2019. But there is a recent precedent for building a spring-training stadium in Florida under a similar timetable: A new West Palm Beach facility shared by the Houston Astros and Washington Nationals, which opened this year, broke ground in early November 2015 and was built over a span of about 15 months.

The Braves will train in 2018 for the final time at Disney’s ESPN Wide World of Sports near Orlando, their spring home since 1998. 

Plans call for a North Port stadium with a capacity of about 8,000, plus six full practice fields, two half fields and about 55,000 square feet of clubhouse and office space. 

The Braves pursued a new spring-training home in Florida for almost three years, turning their attention solely to Sarasota County in January after previous discussions with Pinellas County (St. Petersburg), Collier County (Naples) and Palm Beach County.

Taxpayers will contribute more than $40 million toward the new facility, plus interest. Sarasota County will cover $21.3 million of the construction cost, the state of Florida $14.4 million and North Port $4.7 million. (The state’s commitment is $20 million over 20 years, including interest payments.) 

The Braves are on the hook for $55.5 million through a combination of up-front payments of about $18 million and annual payments over 30 years sufficient to cover debt service on $37.5 million in bonds. A private developer will contribute $4.7 million. 


Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Atlanta Braves

Braves add two ex-Dodger relievers, reach 40-man limit
Braves add two ex-Dodger relievers, reach 40-man limit

For the second time on Monday night, the Braves scooped up a piece from the Dodgers bullpen. Atlanta acquired right-hander Josh Ravin from the Dodgers for cash considerations, bringing its roster to the 40-man limit. Eligible players needed to be added to the 40-man roster or they could be subject to the Rule 5 draft on Dec. 14. The Braves added former...
Braves claim LHP Grant Dayton from Dodgers
Braves claim LHP Grant Dayton from Dodgers

New Braves general manager Alex Anthopoulos’ first addition is one of his former Dodgers. The Braves claimed left-handed reliever Grant Dayton off waivers on Monday. The team also selected the contracts of left-handers Adam McCreery and Ricardo Sanchez, bringing it to 39 players on the 40-man roster at the deadline to protect players from the...
Braves set to begin final spring training at Disney
Braves set to begin final spring training at Disney

Braves baseball will return on Feb. 23 when Atlanta opens Grapefruit League play against the New York Mets in Port St. Lucie, Fla. It will be the Braves’ final spring training at the Disney facility. Pitchers and catchers are scheduled to report Feb. 13, while play around the league will open on Feb. 23 or 24. Atlanta will play 33 games before...
Braves’ Chipper Jones, Andruw Jones among players on 2018 Hall of Fame ballot
Braves’ Chipper Jones, Andruw Jones among players on 2018 Hall of Fame ballot

In their first year of eligibility, former Atlanta Braves third baseman Chipper Jones and outfielder Andruw Jones are among the  candidates on the 2018 Hall of Fame ballot released by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America Monday. The pair of Joneses were also on the ballot alongside former Braves Fred McGriff, Gary Sheffield...
Braves: Ronald Acuna continues embracing big stage
Braves: Ronald Acuna continues embracing big stage

Ronald Acuna isn’t just baseball’s best prospect. He’s a talent who’s shown he can show up when it matters most. The Braves’ 19-year-old outfielder again made his case as the game’s most promising prospect on Saturday. Acuna went 2-for-4 with four RBIs, propelling Peoria to an 8-2 win over Mesa in the Arizona Fall...
More Stories