Braves seek rezoning for stadium development; BoC plans vote on Braves projects July 15
by Jon Gillooly
May 02, 2014 04:00 AM | 9239 views | 0 0 comments | 48 48 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Mike Plant
Mike Plant
CUMBERLAND — The Atlanta Braves on Thursday filed a rezoning application for its proposed $672 million Cobb County stadium and $400 million mixed-used development near Cumberland Mall.

The Cobb Planning Commission is scheduled to vote on the application on July 1, followed by the final vote by the Board Commissioners on July 15.

The Braves are building a 41,500-seat stadium complex on a 12- to 15-acre footprint.

The plan is to deed the stadium over to the Cobb-Marietta Coliseum & Exhibit Hall Authority since the county has agreed to pay for $300 million to build it, along with $35 million in maintenance costs over the 30-year contract with the franchise.

A private development surrounding the ballpark would allow for:

● 750,000 square feet (600 units) of multifamily residential space;

● 630,000 square feet of office space;

● 500,000 square feet of retail space;

● 450,000 square feet (450 rooms) of hotel space; and

● 100,000 square feet for a multi-use facility used for small concerts and weddings.

“The rezoning process is just one step toward the anticipated opening of the Braves stadium in the spring of

2017,” said county Chairman Tim Lee. “It is a procedural requirement to accommodate the physical stadium and appears to be in compliance with all future land use maps, recommendations and subcategories as well.”

‘More Williams-Sonoma than Wal-Mart’

Mike Plant, executive vice president of business operations for the Braves, said the decision hasn’t been made whether the residential units will be rental or owner-occupied.

“Fortunately at this stage of the process, you don’t have to make that determination. It goes in steps,” Plant said.

Nor has he decided whether to build one hotel or two smaller ones.

The market will determine what retailers locate on the site, he said.

“Restaurants, bistros, places that people can eat outside, places people are going to want to go to before the game and after the game and during the time when we’re not playing games — we’re going to have an interest in spending time there — so, hard to say, but if you look at high-end sports bars, and this is just an example, we have not had a conversation with them, but it’s more the Williams-Sonoma type versus the Wal-mart type,” Plant said.

The property is now zoned general commercial and high-occupancy office. The Braves are requesting the property be rezoned Regional Retail Commercial. This zoning classification is reserved for mixed-use developments that contain a combination of commercial uses, including office, retail, and residential space, and exceed 500,000 square feet in size. The Braves ultimately plan to develop up to 2.3 million square feet of mixed-use space on the site.

The Braves bought the main 57-acre site in January from Bethesda, Md.-based B.F. Saul Co., paying $600,000 an acre.

Plant said he closed on another 25 acres from the same seller for the same price per acre this week.

About 7 of the total 82 acres are left out of the zoning application.

“There’s two small outparcels that we’re just holding onto at this time,” Plant said.

Shows an intent to move forward, Bob Ott says

The site plan calls for 6,977 on-site parking spaces. In comparison, Turner Field, which has several thousand more seats than the new stadium will have, is served by 8,500 parking spaces. The Braves are in negotiations with surrounding businesses to provide additional parking.

The franchise has requested an exemption to Cobb County’s current signage requirements. It says major sporting and entertainment venues typically have signage elements beyond customary development space, and it is requesting flexibility as it continues to develop plans for the new stadium.

Commissioner Bob Ott, who represents the area, said he was excited to see the rezoning application for the mixed-use piece.

“Because I know that there was a lot of concern by people in the district that there didn’t appear to be a commitment for them to do the mixed-use, so by filing, it clearly shows that they have every intent moving forward on the mixed-use, which I think is welcome news,” Ott said.

Attorney James Balli with Marietta-based Sams, Larkin, Huff & Balli filed the application.

Last November, the Braves and Board of Commissioners agreed to build one of only 29 Major League baseball stadiums in the U.S. on the site.

The Braves plan to have the stadium open by spring 2017.

Lee predicts the development will look similar to L.A. Live, an entertainment complex in downtown Los Angeles adjacent to the Staples Center.

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