After only 17 years, the Atlanta Braves are leaving Turner Field and are moving 10 miles north to Cobb County in 2017. Turner Field, which was erected in 1996 for the Summer Olympic Games, will be demolished.
“We started looking at our future way back in 2005,” said Mike Plant, the Braves’ executive vice president of business operations. “We recognized some of the challenges the current site held for us, and we recognized some of the opportunities that we were going to pursue. …”
It is unclear how much taxpayer money will go toward the $672 million needed for the new 42,000-seat stadium. While the Braves, who have made the playoffs 12 times since calling Turner Field home, have not yet signed a contract with Cobb County, Plant said that he is “100 percent sure” it will happen.
Braves officials say it would take more than $150 million to improve the current ballpark, and some fans complained of limited parking and poor access to the city’s rapid-transit system. The Cobb County stadium will be located between Atlanta’s busiest interstate highways, I-75 and I-285. Additionally, the Braves would own the land around their new ballpark, allowing for further development and potential revenue streams.
“The current location has certain issues that are insurmountable and will only become more problematic over the years,” read a statement on the team’s website. “These fundamental issues involve how you, our fans, access Turner Field.”
The current ballpark sits in the impoverished Summerhill neighborhood, and despite many attempts in recent years to revitalize the community, political corruption and poorly designed plans have kept the area stagnant. The Braves, owned by Liberty Media—the same company that owns Sirius XM and Barnes & Noble—are making a business decision. And they’ve obviously given up on Summerhill.