Shout out to my brother @SaggyWheels for putting me on to this story. Apparently the sun is officially beginning to set on Turner Field.
Atlanta Braves president John Schuerholz announced yesterday that the Braves will not extend their least with Turner Field at the end of the 2016 season. Instead, they will reportedly move to Cobb County, the site where the team is planning to build a new $672 million, 42,000-seat ballpark. Nothing is official yet, but Schuerholz said he is 100 percent certain the moves will take place.
The proposed site is 69 acres of property. The stadium would take up 15 of those acres, with the rest of the land being used by the Braves to develop restaurants, shops, hotels and other entertainment venues.
The Braves moved into Turner Field in 1997, but were never quite happy with it. For one, the team doesn’t own the park, which was built for the 1996 Olympic Games. The stadium has required hundreds of millions of dollars in infrastructure improvements since then, and is projected to need hundreds of millions more. Reportedly, traffic is the biggest ballpark problem – believed to be a big reason more fans don’t show up during the regular season – and it’s one the team doesn’t think it can fix.
The club also wants to modernize and improve the fans’ game day experience, and the Cobb County site gives them the real estate freedom to build to do just that.
It’s kind of sad, considering the team will have only spent 20 years at Turner Field by the time they skip town. But from what I’ve read, it sounds like the move makes business and baseball sense. Atlanta fans have long been dubbed as fair weathered and spoiled due to the lack of attendance during seasons when the team is playing well. That criticism may be unfair all things considered, and the organization believes the new ballpark will prove that.
The matter is up for a vote on November 26, when it is expected to be approved. Once approved, construction will begin in 2014. I’ll try to keep you updated on the story and the proposed architecture for the ballpark when I learn more.