Braves development team talks mixed-use plans

Top decision-makers for the Atlanta Braves new ballpark and mixed-use development shared some of their ingredients for what they say will be a winning complex Thursday at an event for real estate professionals near the future SunTrust Park.

There will be high-end retailers on par with J.Crew, Anthropologie and lululemon, but not ultra-luxury brands such as Gucci. Some will be new merchants never before seen in metro Atlanta. Restaurants from local and nationally-acclaimed chefs will line a plaza for events designed to bring energy 18 hours a day.

The Braves and a development team plan a $400 million mixed-use entertainment district next to the ballpark.

The Braves and a development team plan a $400 million mixed-use entertainment district next to the ballpark.

“It’s not a lifestyle center, it’s more than a mixed-use center,” said Jeff Fuqua, of Fuqua Development, who is heading up the retail and restaurant portion of the project. “It’s an open-air entertainment project anchored by a Major League Baseball stadium.”

The Braves plan to open in 2017 the 41,000-seat ballpark, as well as an office tower, hotel, hundreds of residential units and more than 400,000-square feet of retail and restaurant space. It’s a feat no other pro sports team in the U.S. has accomplished at the same time as stadium construction.

In all, it’s more than $1 billion in development, and the viability of the entertainment and residential district is crucial.

Cobb County leaders are providing nearly $400 million in taxpayer financing to the stadium, and the vitality of the overall project, tax receipts and spin-off development were big selling points.

The talk Thursday with real estate group CoreNet Global at the Georgian Club, included top Braves partners, including Fuqua, Braves executive Mike Plant, Wakefield Beasley CEO and architect Lamar Wakefield and Mason Zimmerman, who is handling office development with Pope & Land.

Fuqua said the developers have held discussions with about 40 restaurant groups, including many headed by local chefs, as well as New York-based firms. Dining has become entertainment, he said, and a key driver for the project. Braves games will only occupy about 1 percent of the district’s annual operating hours, so high-end retailers and a focus on women’s apparel will help generate traffic beyond the Braves 81 regular season home games.

“The quality of the retail the Braves are demanding – there is no second-best,” he said.

Last month, the Braves and Comcast announced that the cable giant will occupy the office tower and bring about 1,000 jobs to an innovation lab on the site. They will also provide ultra-fast Internet service to the complex.

Zimmerman said the Braves project has helped spur nearby development of about planned 1,000 apartments, and about 1 million square feet of office space in the Cumberland Mall area is also in the works.

Connie Engel, another panelist and the lead partner over the Atlanta Galleria Office Park for Childress Klein Properties, said the team has become a “catalyst” for nearby development plans.

In other discussions, Plant, the Braves executive vice president of business operations, said announcements about tenants and other draws will be sprinkled out over the next 24 months. Traffic and parking plans, eagerly awaited by fans and nearby workers and residents, will be released when it completed, but he offered no time table. He said bus connections to MARTA are under discussion and the team is working on transportation projects that would start both before and after Opening Day 2017.

“We are working on it every day,” he said. “We are going to have solutions, have (some) solutions today.”

Plant said comments he made to a Kennesaw business group about cycling to the complex were not about transportation alternatives for fans attending ballgames, but weekend excursions to the development by people who live nearby.

Reader Comments 0

33 comments
styymy
styymy

Anthropologie and lululemon??? What a joke

PeterNapa
PeterNapa

@styymy You forgot that they're "high end"! Way to make it seem like a hick town.

gaboy983
gaboy983

Very few people are ever going to shop there. Games are mostly week nights.  Shops will be close when games end.  People won't shop right before games because parking is too far away and most people aren't going to want to walk around the stadium with shopping bags(if they let you in with them in the place). If a person leaves work at 5pm and makes it to the stadium at 6/630 when are they suppose to shop or eat there. 


It's not a bad idea to put shops and restaurants around a stadium but it works way better in a city setting when people will naturally be in the area anyway. Take advantage of Millennials that don't have kids yet and may be more willing to hang out well after games end. 

wowev
wowev

@gaboy983 Naturally in the area? So Smyrna, East Cobb, anyone commuting on I-75 or 285, the apartments and townhomes being built right next to the stadium (with more planned), the three apartment deals being constructed else where in cumberland, and the three that just were completed?


They are building a mixed use sector for non-Braves games.

Chi Ali
Chi Ali

Just dumb design first by the City of Atlanta for not improving traffic downtown making the Turner field area unattractive for the suburban white guy(yeah lets be real besides Dominicans no blacks like baseball), secondly having lived in Marietta terrible idea and watch in 5 years residents complain about "losing that small town appeal" only hope was to have a Marta station, but then again counting on Marta is fools gold, all in all terrible Idea that can't be rectified until another 30-40yrs when the braves come back hat in hand to the downtown area, pathetic.

Ersatz
Ersatz

Of course the barves' biggest neighbor will be the 28-story Applebee's in barvesworld, where barves front office hogs and cobb political fat cats will scarf down unlimited brewskis, tater skins, and babyback ribs, paid in full by cobb taxpayers.  On days when barves fans aren't battling sweltering heat and highway exhaust fumes while crossing a $15 millon-dollar bridge to nowhere, they can still watch barves front office hogs and cobb political fat cats using cobb taxpayer dollars to light their cigars and wipe their butts.

JHH0718
JHH0718

It's been a corporate driven sport for years, as are most professional sports.  Until those corporations take a stand on the cost to participate, the rest of us will have to sit in the third deck and use binoculars to see the players, or decide not to go.  The later is my choice.   Let's bring the guys from Augusta National over to run concessions and show that you don't have to charge such high prices and still make money.

Les_W
Les_W

I live in Decatur, and go to about 8 or 9 Braves games per year at Turner Field for the past several years.  Pretty easy to get to.  I take the Marta train to the Georgia State station and walk to the stadium.  About a third of the time I ride my bike to Turner Field.  I buy an upper deck seat, and bring my own food and beverage in.  Overall I spend less than $30 at the stadium.


With the Braves moving to SunTrust Park in Cobb county, all of that changes.  I will now have to drive (didn't have to before).  I will have to fight traffic.  I will have to pay (probably a lot) for parking.  I will not be allowed to bring my own food and drink in, and will have to pay outrageous prices for a hotdog and Coke.  And the ticket price will likely be much higher.  Whereas I pay less than $30 per game now at Turner Field... at SunTrust Park in Cobb that will probably become $70 per game, take more of my time to get to, involve more hassle and frustration, etc.


After the Braves move, I doubt that I'll be going to anywhere near the number of games that I attend now and in the past.

jarvis1975
jarvis1975

@Les_W You are in the minority. The move is closer to their core of customers. If Decatur had more like you, the move wouldn't have been made.

Les_W
Les_W

@jarvis1975 @Les_W   

That’s not necessarily true.This move away from Turner Field is not completely about increasing attendance from fans - - - it’s about money… getting more money for the Braves.The Braves wanted Turner Field renovated for more high-dollar corporate suites and more luxury boxes for the deep pocketed and businesses.But the City of Atlanta would not do that.And the Braves wanted the revenue from concessions and parking at Turner Field.But the City of Atlanta would not give them that either.And the Braves wanted to extract money from businesses in the area.Something they could not get at Turner Field.

By moving to a new stadium where they control all of the revenue streams, the Braves get to put more money in their coffers.At the new SunTrust Park they get all the money – corporate suites, naming rights, parking, concessions, and from the leases of the mixed-use development and local facilities.If this was really about putting more fans in the seats, then they would not be building a new stadium with so many less seats than what they have at Turner Field.And when you consider how much of the new SunTrust Park will be corporate boxes, there will be even less seats.So this isn’t all about getting the “average Joe” like me to come to the games.

Les_W
Les_W

@gaboy983


This is not about drawing fans. This is about getting more money. With the move to Cobb County, the Braves get a new stadium with somebody else paying for it. Plus the Braves get money from naming rights. Plus the Braves get money from the lease payments from the mixed use development facilities.Plus the Braves get money from concessions (where they did not at Turner Field), plus fans will no longer be able to bring-in their own food, forcing them to pay high prices for stadium food with the Braves pocketing the profits. Plus the Braves get all of the profits from parking. Plus the Braves get more money from luxury boxes and corporate suites, which will sell-out from businesses, even if the fans don’t come.


The Braves probably know that they run the risk of less of the “average Joe” showing-up for the games, over time. But their analysis about the move decision probably pointed-out that they stand to get a lot more money.


If you truly want a greater fan turnout, why would you build a smaller stadium… and build a stadium where you have much less seats to sell to fans. Because… you really want more money, not necessarily more people.



chill30313
chill30313

@Les_W Sadly the Braves are no longer Atlanta owned... Liberty Media out of Denver owns them and they could care LESS about the City of Atlanta. All they care about is a brand new stadium that someone else pays for.

stripesofzebra
stripesofzebra

@cc423 @Les_W those of us that were born and raised here in Georgia couldn't care less about the city of Atlanta.  

gaboy983
gaboy983

@jarvis1975 @Les_W  Studies around the country show that more and more people are moving out of suburbs and IN to cities.  So moving outside of city limits doesn't really make sense. After the initial boom because it's a new stadium it will draw fewer people than Turner or a new Atlanta stadium would have.

DawgWhistle
DawgWhistle

If it weren't for the City of Atlanta you wouldn't be here at all...unless you're a peanut farmer or something. This City is the economic engine for the entire state despite the prevailing prejudice.

wowev
wowev

@DirtyDawg The Atlanta MSA is the driving force. Not the city and its 450,000 residents.

DrPhill
DrPhill

Clearly Braves' baseball is coming a sport of the 1% like polo and horse dancing. It looks like the only thing missing from the Cobb Extravaganza is competitive baseball.

jarvis1975
jarvis1975

@DrPhill If the sport is a reflection of its surroundings, then the last 20 years Braves' baseball has been the sport of gypsy lots, a beaten up liquor store and ONE restaurant.

Super Elf
Super Elf

They are building less seats and more Luxury suites, more luxury sky boxes and maybe luxury box seats. Sports is more corporate driven and the fan is being tossed aside in order to pay these over paid ball players. They need a hard salary cap.  Not one that fluctuates. FIXED. Tired of the $5 hot dog, $8 pizza and $5 drink. Better at the G Braves games.

96JB
96JB

4 tickets, 4 cokes, 4 dogs.......$250-300.......Who in their right mind? Good luck. I bet 50% of the seats will go " corporate" season ticket sales under a heavy marketing pressure...... This economy stinks for most. Maybe a new President. People don't get that wages are stagnant because THERE IS NO DEMAND FOR HIRING. Maybe the sheep will wake up.

96JB
96JB

Will a coke and a dog be $25 like it is now at Turner? At the Masters, you can't eat $25 worth of food in a 10 hour visit.

1peatfor7
1peatfor7

@96JB Have you been to the pro shop during the tournament?  It's $90 for the least expensive golf shirt and they can barely keep up with the stock.  The sponsors basically pay for the tournament costs.

DawgWhistle
DawgWhistle

Let me see if I've got this straight, 'baseball fans' (and families) that have spent a lot of money for tickets, and expect to spend still more on concessions...not to mention the time commitment (and forget school nights)...are gonna come early and/or stay late at one or more of these places (and spend still more money)? And still further, folks are gonna park at Cumberland - and will undoubtedly be given a break on the cost of parking if they frequent one of the Mall's restaurants, bars or retail stores - and walk over to one of these places, or ride assuming the shuttle is still running? And when there are no games - either during the season or from October to April - they're gonna go to the trouble of going to the SunTrust complex, that reportedly will be short on parking, when there are plenty of options closer to home, or for that matter right across the Interstate with plenty of parking (including valet) plus are more moderately priced. I gotta believe there's a reason no other ML team/stadium complex have done this...it's because they've thought it through and unless you've got a lot of high-end residences nearby to provide a base of potential customers for high-end facilities, you won't be 'high-end' for long.

I'm tellin ya, Liberty Media better be ready to sell this thing before the doors open in 2017...cause once this 'high end' shopping and entertainment complex struggles and tanks, even the over-inflated Forbes appraisal won't save em...oh yeah, don't expect Atlanta-based fans to make a big effort to head to games - particularly since the Cobb leaders involved have already said we weren't really welcome or needed since all the tickets are sold OTP.

PJ25
PJ25

Get out of Cobb now if you can because the writing is on the wall....it's quickly becoming Clayton County North. 

Bhorsoft
Bhorsoft

Glad we just moved out of Cobb County.  Hardcore Republican or not, taxes will be going up for residents to pay for this boondoggle.  If I'm the owners of Cumberland Mall, I'd be looking at selling as all the new high-end shopping will kill mall business.  Think Gwinnett Place Mall all over again when the Mall of Georgia opened.

DawgWhistle
DawgWhistle

I think it's just the opposit...Cumberland will be better-positioned to take advantage of the new customer (ball game) traffic - many of which will park there - and will more likely be a boon to the Mall's business at the expense of the new Braves complex. Just wondering, surely SunTrust doesn't expect to put its name on the whole damn thing...as concervative as they are?

someonesdad
someonesdad

Overpriced retail, more apartments, and "bus connections" to MARTA? Not very well thought out.  If MARTA doesn't stop there, it's not worth mentioning.  No one in Cobb is taking the bus--certainly not the people who shop at the overpriced retail.

BaseballTopFan
BaseballTopFan

Cumberland Mall has been a "CASH COW" for Cobb County for Decades  !!!


Retailers, restaurants and other businesses in the mall have paid Millions and 

Millions of Tax dollars to Tax Commissioners office.


Their tax dollars are now being used to help finance the new Atlanta Braves Sun Trust Park.


The new stadium will have special walkways leading FANS directly to the stadium.

Cumberland Mall businesses taxes are now being used to finance their competitors.