This map shows Turner Field and the new stadium location. Fans who purchased tickets during the 2012 season are shown in red.
The Braves will leave downtown Atlanta for suburban Cobb County, after a scant 20 years in Turner Field. The team chose the nexus of two highways 13.5 miles north of their current stadium as the site for a new ballpark. According to Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed, Cobb County offered $450 million in public support for the stadium.
The team cited “a lack of consistent mass transportation,” as part of the reason for the move. The new site, in the Cumberland Mall area, will provide “enhanced parking opportunities, and, generally, easier access to and from major roadways,” according to the team’s management. Braves execs told the Atlanta Journal Constitution that Turner Field had 5,000 fewer parking spots than they wanted.
“Today, most of our fans arrive via car, and getting to this (new) site via car from all sorts of different directions is easier,” Braves exec Derek Schiller told the AJC.
The team promises the new stadium will be part of a “mixed-use development” (sites marked out above), with better highway access and more parking at its new location, plus “a variety of other transportation options.” Judging from the image on the above, it doesn’t look like too many fans are going to be walking or taking transit to the games. Ashley Robbins of the local transit blog MARTA Rocks! told Streetsblog that the Cumberland Mall is currently served by a single, overcrowded bus route.
ATL Urbanist, a blog written by a downtown Atlanta resident who goes by Darin, said the move could be a good thing for downtown, if the stadium is replaced by a walkable neighborhood. Mayor Reed said today that several developers are potentially interested in the location.
The Braves current stadium, Turner Field, is just 17 years old and was built as the centerpiece of the city’s Olympics in 1996. The new stadium will reportedly be built with $450 million in financing from Cobb County and $200 million from the team, though it’s not clear what form the subsidies will take.
Notably, voters in Cobb County, like most other parts of the Atlanta region, voted down a measure last year to raise revenue for transportation projects, including BRT routes that would have served the location of the new stadium.