Cobb commissioners vote 4-1 to finance new Braves stadium
by Jon Gillooly
November 26, 2013 09:32 PM | 9504 views | 44 44 comments | 88 88 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Celebrating a 4-1 vote from the Cobb County Board of Commissioners on Tuesday night are, from left, Atlanta Braves Executive Vice President of Sales and Marketing Derek Schiller, Cobb Chamber CEO David Connell, Braves President John Schuerholz, Braves Chairman and CEO Terry McGuirk, Cobb Chairman Tim Lee and Executive Vice President of Business Operations Mike Plant outside The Strand Theatre, which welcomes the team to Cobb County on the marquee. <br>Staff/Kelly J. Huff
Celebrating a 4-1 vote from the Cobb County Board of Commissioners on Tuesday night are, from left, Atlanta Braves Executive Vice President of Sales and Marketing Derek Schiller, Cobb Chamber CEO David Connell, Braves President John Schuerholz, Braves Chairman and CEO Terry McGuirk, Cobb Chairman Tim Lee and Executive Vice President of Business Operations Mike Plant outside The Strand Theatre, which welcomes the team to Cobb County on the marquee.
Staff/Kelly J. Huff
slideshow
John Loud, president of Loud Securities chops his tomahawk in victory after the Cobb County Commissioners voted 4-1 on the memorandum of understanding to finance a new stadium for the team that will play ball here in 2017. Also seated with Loud is Puckett EMS owner Shane Garrison, Community Outreach Liaison Government & Community Affairs at Puckett  EMS Wayne Dodd and Kennesaw Mayor Mark Mathews.<br>Staff/Kelly J. Huff
John Loud, president of Loud Securities chops his tomahawk in victory after the Cobb County Commissioners voted 4-1 on the memorandum of understanding to finance a new stadium for the team that will play ball here in 2017. Also seated with Loud is Puckett EMS owner Shane Garrison, Community Outreach Liaison Government & Community Affairs at Puckett EMS Wayne Dodd and Kennesaw Mayor Mark Mathews.
Staff/Kelly J. Huff
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Cobb County Commissioner Lisa Cupid addresses the crowd gathered for the vote on a new Atlanta Braves stadium Tuesday evening including members of the Braves organization, as she explains the reasoning behind her "NO" vote on the memorandum of understanding to help fund the project. She ended with a Welcome to the organization on their new venture in the county.<br>Staff/Kelly J. Huff
Cobb County Commissioner Lisa Cupid addresses the crowd gathered for the vote on a new Atlanta Braves stadium Tuesday evening including members of the Braves organization, as she explains the reasoning behind her "NO" vote on the memorandum of understanding to help fund the project. She ended with a Welcome to the organization on their new venture in the county.
Staff/Kelly J. Huff
slideshow
John Loud, President of Loud Securities, presents Atlanta Braves President John Schuerholz with a ‘Cobb, Home of the Braves’ T-shirt Tuesday night before the Cobb County Commissioners took a vote to finance a new stadium in the county. Looking on are Executive Vice President and General Manager Frank Wren, left, and Vice President of Sales and Marketing Derek Schiller.  <br>Staff/Kelly J. Huff
John Loud, President of Loud Securities, presents Atlanta Braves President John Schuerholz with a ‘Cobb, Home of the Braves’ T-shirt Tuesday night before the Cobb County Commissioners took a vote to finance a new stadium in the county. Looking on are Executive Vice President and General Manager Frank Wren, left, and Vice President of Sales and Marketing Derek Schiller.
Staff/Kelly J. Huff
slideshow
MARIETTA — Cobb County is now home of the Braves with Opening Day scheduled for spring 2017.

Cheers sounded through the room as the Cobb Board of Commissioners on Tuesday approved a memorandum of understanding that would finance the construction of a $672 million, 41,500-seat stadium that will be the new home of the Atlanta Braves. The franchise has agreed to move the team to the suburban site from its current home at Turner Field near downtown Atlanta.

Commissioners approved the agreement in a vote of 4-1 with Lisa Cupid, the lone Democrat on the board, voting no.

“This is a most significant and historic day for our franchise,” Braves president John Schuerholz said after the meeting. “This gold standard franchise has joined with a gold standard county as we plan our future together.”

Cupid said it wasn’t that she opposed the Braves moving to Cobb County, but that she was being asked to make a decision much too quickly given the size and complexity of the deal.

“I just have a very difficult time reasoning through the rush when we spend more time speaking about zoning matters that impact a fraction, a minute fraction of the public than what the stadium will impact, and we can delay and delay to make sure we don’t have enough houses in a particular subdivision, or that people don’t have to look at a certain thing in somebody else’s backyard, and we can’t delay this vote?” Cupid said. “It frightens me, to be honest, the number of threats I’ve received. If you want a 5-0 vote, you could have gotten it, it could have been easy, but I will not ever be bullied into sacrificing my commitment to the people that put me into this position.”

Commissioner Bob Ott said he reviewed the information over the last few weeks and was satisfied.

“At this time I do not think that a 60-day delay (is needed); there is no more information that needs to be put out there about what we have to vote on,” Ott said.

County Chairman Tim Lee said it was the Cobb leaders of the past who prepared the stage for the historic opportunity.

“It’s just by the luck of the draw that I happened to be chairman at this particular time,” Lee said. “It is a lot of work by the Chamber of Commerce, by the business community, residents of Cobb County and all those who came before us that got us ready for this opportunity to make it possible for us to take advantage of this wonderful economic development opportunity. The Atlanta Braves intend to invest close to $1 billion over the next four years and employ several thousand people in the process and bring what is certain to be one of the most economic boosts in the arm of Cobb County in recent history.”

Looking out at the audience, Lee addressed Schuerholz.

“Mr. John Schuerholz, I want to thank you and your team and your leadership for giving us the opportunity to present to you our best efforts to try to make you feel at home,” Lee said. “Hopefully, we’ve done that to your satisfaction to the point where you commit moving forward, and we’ll do everything within our possibilities to make sure you’re welcome here, you’re at home, and we welcome you to our community in Cobb County.”



Moving forward

Lee said the next steps are to meet in the first couple weeks of December to come up with an action plan, which includes putting into place the funding mechanisms to pay for the stadium, such as creating a special tax district in the Cumberland area.

The Braves organization is preparing to issue a request for proposals to build its $400 million mixed-use development that would accompany the stadium.

“They should be able to issue it, if not tomorrow, first part of next week asking for qualifications on who might want to put in a proposal,” Lee said.

The Braves will have to finalize the purchase of all 60 acres of the site they intend to build on from Bethesda, Md.-based B.F. Saul Co.

“They’ve got to close on the last piece of property in January,” Lee said. “Then they will immediately start moving the pipelines and then they’ll have to do that first before they can do any real grading on the property, so that will take a couple months to get that done. So I would expect to see dirt moving sometime in the late summer or early fall.”

Colonial Pipeline and Atlanta Gas have lines that run through the property which will be relocated to the property’s perimeter since the lines cannot be built on, Lee said.

“I expect to be moving pipes in February. I expect dirt to be moving sometime end of summer early fall next year,” Lee said.

Schuerholz said after the meeting that he was thrilled how the night turned out.

“We want to thank the leadership of the Chamber of Commerce of Cobb County, the business leaders, the people who are in the various CIDs that we heard mentioned tonight and their support and especially the support and the interest of the citizens of Cobb County,” Schuerholz said. “That’s really the most important thing. Their voices were heard as the commissioners shared with you tonight, their voices were heard and heard loudly and heard well and were responded to. We’re thrilled and delighted to be here.”

Comments
(44)
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D.G. in Clarkdale
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December 04, 2013
With all that is going wrong, the people get yet more "Bread and Circuses"....
Ben_7789
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November 27, 2013
I'm a Braves fan, and a big one. I'm glad they're in a place were they'll be able to increase payroll, because I want them to be good again.

HOWEVER this is an awful deal. Why did they rush it through? Why could they not put it in midtown. Most of Atlantic Station's land is still vacant. Wouldn't there be tax credits available to build in midtown? It would qualify for brownfield development, I think. Cobb taxpayers are likely to be paying the bond off when they need another one.

Also, that stadium will suck business out of Cumberland like a straw, and it will attract crime because of the easy marks coming out to the game.
rbd
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December 17, 2013
It is all about the idiot politicians and and the revenue stream for the owners. Impact and traffic study? Those people stuck in that awaiting nightmare of a traffic mess. We know all the pros.

The cons?
Richard in Marietta
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November 27, 2013
Tim Lee for President ! We need visionary leadership

anonymous
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November 28, 2013
Amen to that, Richard. Amen again. Now if we can just get visionary's into the management of education, we won the World Series already.
movin' on
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November 27, 2013
When the taxes start going up, look out Paulding and Bartow, there's a flood coming!!
Mike Woodliff
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November 27, 2013
This is a great catch for Cobb County and I'm glad the Commissioners saw this opportunity. The bond issue being floated won't have any effect on Cobb County residents and will wind up being in the portfolios of industrial and institutional investors. Also, the naysayers talking about Cobb schools needing the funding should take a class in civics. The Cobb County Board of Commissioners has nothing to do with the funding for schools. That comes from the Cobb County Board of Education.

Hats off to the Commission for a smart move. We'll all benefit from it.
Butler T. Reynolds
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November 27, 2013
Republicans get suckered again by big government politicians. On the national level they got suckered by Nixon, both Bushes, Newt, the '94 congress, and even Reagan oversaw a ballooning debt.

On the local level you keep falling for temporary tax increases and never ending SPLOSTs.

Now you're going to subsidize a baseball stadium, all thanks to your local GOP and Chamber of Commerce.

Cobb County can no longer pretend to be any different from Fulton and Dekalb counties. Thanks for nothing GOP!
John Galt
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November 27, 2013
You were suckered by LBJ, Carter, Clinton, and Obama (who holds the record for ballooning deficits). BTW - who controlled congress (who is responsible for the budget) when Reagan was in office? The democrats. You need to educate yourself.
Just Wait
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November 27, 2013
Ms. Cupid, I support your decision to vote no for the Braves. However, don't say that you were "bullied" to vote for it. Be honest, as in your original statement, that you did not feel you had enough time to fully consider the plan. And don't pull the "what's in it for me" card either. This was not proposed as a district plan, but a county plan.
Tucker Hobgood
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November 27, 2013
I think Lisa Cupid was right to insist upon some delay for the benefit of the public and to ensure the best deal for the County. I'll bet the Braves could have accepted a short delay to ensure consensus. In fact, did anyone notice that the MOU was changed after it was originally published to include a $35 million cap on County liability for the first 30 years under its maintenance obligations? Would that have occurred without public input? This lack of trust in public discourse and decision-making is troubling, to say the least.
Kevin Foley
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November 27, 2013
The Cobb-Braves give-away is emblematic of the economic disparity in America today: the rich get richer at the expense of the middle class and poor.

Lee, Ott and the rest handed Liberty Media and its billionaire chairman John Malone $300 million of non-existent Cobb tax payer money for something they could easily do themselves.

Cobb voters need to remember this day.
HappyHere
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November 27, 2013
Cupid said she needed at least 14 days to understand the documents available so far. Ask her in 14 days what she's learned in that time and she'll say she hasn't had time to review them. It's a never-ending story.
anonymous
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November 28, 2013
Cupid's comment that she needed more time just proved to me how long does it take for dumb to get dumber.
For Liberty
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November 27, 2013
A sad day for Cobb County and Georgians. The rich and powerful won and the Cobb County taxpayers lost. I would say to all Georgia Residents to start watching what your elected leaders do vs their words. I would also like to thank the lone commisioner who actuallly listened to the people vs the CID and people who stand to gain from Lee's Folly ie the Braves Stadium. Tyranny is alive and well not only at the federal level but also at the local level. Wake up people, get involved and work together to fight for our freedoms and liberty
Just want to know
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November 27, 2013
How the surrounding area is not going to turn into a slum like the current crime ridden slum area that surrounds Turner Field
SG68
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November 27, 2013
Will this deal be a success or a flop?

It will take a few years to be able to make that final determination.

However,

I am betting on success and I applaude the Cobb County Commission for having the foresight to partner with business that is willing to make a significant investmnent in our community.
Beancounter Eric
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November 27, 2013
Not withstanding the dodgy economics ("Should Cities Pay for Sports Facilities?", Zaretsky, "The Regional Economist", St. Louis Federal Reserve Bank), a fundamental point remains - is it right to extend existing taxes and impose new taxes, regardless of the intended target, to finance what is essentially benefit to a private business?

With last night's vote the point is moot, but if the Braves want a new stadium, let them pay for it themselves. It is not an appropriate use of taxpayer funds.
Hugh Watson
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November 27, 2013
This is a Great thing,that the Braves are moving to Cobb Co. I have lived here since 1951 and I can tell you that this will make us the top County in Ga. Everyone should be Proud and come together on this. It was Politics and dumb people that kept us out of the Olympics and shamed our county, lets not let the so called Tea party do it again. In case you wonder I am a life long Republican, but not Tea party.
anonymous
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November 28, 2013
Exactly, Hugh. My family dating back to pre-1950's comes from the Greensboro, Georgia area. Reynolds Plantation has completely taken that area from poverty to one of the most expensive real estate sites in Georgia. It took many people that were born and raised there out of poverty to lucrative careers with the development of Lake Oconee. There were naysayers that didn't want Lake Oconee turned into a resort. I bet a lot of those same naysayers make their living now from that move.
Just Sayin'....
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November 27, 2013
I applaud the move of the Braves to Cobb County, but also applaud Ms. Cupid for bringing up some very important issues with regards to the process. The "powers" that be wanted this and I am sure the pressure was applied to anyone who dared question their wisdom.

With regards to the supporters of this project, can you not find anyone other than John Loud to be your "face".....this guy just loves a good tax and a photo op.
Lib in Cobb
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November 27, 2013
The Braves are described as "the gold standard franchise". Ahhhhhhhhh, how many world series have they won?

NY Yankees, yes, a gold standard

Boston Red Sox, yes, gold standard.
Jack0123456789
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November 27, 2013
@Lib in Cobb, you mad? How exactly will this public/private partnership be a "money pit"? You DO realize that the additional property tax and sales tax generated from the adjacent $400 million privately-funded entertainment district will almost entirely offset the yearly public investment, don't you? And that's not even considering the additional development off-site in the Cumberland/Vinings community that will bring in even more money into county coffers. Cobb County Schools are a big winner too because they will benefit from the huge property tax hike on the stadium property, which currently generates almost nothing for the school district. As for transportation, Cobb DOT has conducted studies that show the stadium development would generate LESS traffic than what the 60 acre property was already zoned for, which was high rise commercial office buildings. So if the property were to be built-out as it is currently zoned instead of the stadium development, the traffic would be worse. I don't think the people who complain about the additional stadium traffic realize that only about 30 games will be played in the heart of the Atlanta rush-hour, which is weekdays from 4pm to 7pm. The rest of the 50 or so games will be played either on the weekend or in the middle of the day. So approximately 30 days out of the 365 day year rush-hour traffic will be worse in the Cumberland area, which isn’t a bad tradeoff considering all of the economic benefits I stated above.
Bob Johnson
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November 27, 2013
Lib in Cobb if you like the Yankees and the Red Soxs so much please move there. We would be a lot happier.
John Galt
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November 27, 2013
Yanks really haven't done much since the crack down on steroids started.
Lib in Cobb
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November 27, 2013
At some point, the Cobb taxpayer even those who buy anything in Cobb are going to be picking up the check on this money pit.

Thank you for standing up Ms. Cupid.
Tax Payer
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November 27, 2013
Kudos to Lisa Cupid and shame on Tim Lee. And shame on the Braves....they should pay for it all (or let Loud and Cunningham). So the Braves reap all the profit...and just pay back the bonds...how is that fair...not to mention the fact that they are taking money that we voted for parks and "redirecting" it. Sounds like another Ga 400.

What is the next tax Tim? First transportation,then host, and now this!!!
Moo Money
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November 27, 2013
How many commissioners or their family will end up with nice jobs in the Braves organization I bet quite a few. Is there a no nepotism in MOR I doubt that. Now these are RINHO’s big time it’s time to RECALL LEE plain and simple. One guy in the crowd was asking about the cities stealing the deal with annexation of land seems to be the most important question to me.
anonymous
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November 27, 2013
Moo Money - I guarantee Lee, Ott and their families will be sitting in free skyboxes.
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