Good morning. This is LEADOFF, today’s early look inside Atlanta sports.
The price tag has changed on the Braves’ new spring-training facility: It’s now $110 million, up from $100 million as of groundbreaking three months ago.
The Braves confirmed the current figure this week, adding the caveat that they intend to work toward lowering it as plans are finalized.
The new facility is being built in the West Villages Florida community in the Sarasota County city of North Port. The Braves will move their spring-training base there from Disney’s Wide World of Sports near Orlando, where they have trained since 1998 and will train again this year. The new facility is slated to open in 2019, posing an aggressive construction schedule.
A preliminary estimate early last year put the facility’s cost in the $75 million to $80 million range, which had increased to $100 million by September.
The latest increase in cost doesn’t change the amount of taxpayer money going into the project: The state of Florida, Sarasota County and North Port have committed approximately $45 million combined. A private developer will contribute $4.7 million plus land and infrastructure. The Braves are responsible for the rest.
The project changed general contractors shortly before the groundbreaking ceremony.
> Jeff Schultz breaks down why Dale Murphy and Fred McGriff may still get into the Hall of Fame and why Andruw Jones may not. See his column here.
> Atlanta United has agreed to sell Carlos Carmona to Colo-Colo in his native Chile. See Doug Roberson’s report here.
> Sales data and fan surveys appear to have validated Mercedes-Benz Stadium’s strategy of bucking sports-industry tradition with sharply reduced concession-stand prices. See story here.