Authority eyes hotel near the site of $672M Braves stadium
by Jon Gillooly
April 07, 2014 12:02 AM | 1141 views | 0 0 comments | 10 10 recommendations | email to a friend | print

CUMBERLAND — The county authority preparing to issue the bonds to fund the planned $672 million Cobb Atlanta Braves stadium is in the market for a 400-room hotel.

The idea is to build a full-service hotel adjacent to the Cobb Galleria Centre in front of the Cobb Travel & Tourism office.

The Cobb-Marietta Coliseum & Exhibit Hall Authority, which governs the Galleria, agreed in late March to hire Los Angeles-based CBRE to lure an interested hotel company to the site.

The firm will be paid a brokerage fee of 5 percent of the first $10 million of construction costs and 3 percent of the remaining costs.

The authority voted 5-0 in favor of the deal with members Bob Voyles and Mayor Steve Tumlin absent.

“We need more rooms here for the convention center so we can have larger conventions,” authority Chairman Jerry Nix said. “People don’t like having all of their people spread out in four or five hotels. So we need a hotel that has a lot of rooms.”

The hotel would also have a full-service restaurant and other amenities.

Nix said the authority had planned to move forward with a hotel before the recession hit, but then backed off until the market returned.

County Chairman Tim Lee, who serves on the authority, said the idea is to enter into a ground lease with a hotel company.

“We would lease the ground and they would build it and manage it,” Lee said. “We would contract with a name brand at a level, like a three-star plus.”

Voyles said it would be great to have the hotel open by the time the new stadium opens in 2017.

Multi-use development by the Performing Arts Centre?

The Exhibit Hall Authority also voted 5-0 to hire John Speros with Atlanta-based Ackerman & Co to market a five-acre parcel just south of the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre, which the authority also owns and manages.

That firm will receive a brokerage commission of 5 percent of the land price.

“We’ve had people pressing us, particularly since the Braves announced, want to come in and build a hotel and build this and build that,” Nix said. “It’s right there by the Cobb Energy Centre. Prime property with exposure to 75. It’s an important property to us, but we don’t know that a hotel isn’t the best use of that property. We don’t know that an office tower or mixed-use type, so that’s what Speros with Ackerman and Company are going to do for us.”

Voyles said he’d like to see some form of mixed-use development on the site. “Maybe with some residential, office and retail,” Voyles said.

The Exhibit Hall Authority could sell the property or do a ground lease for that site too, he said.

“We have a fiduciary responsibility to the taxpayers of Cobb County to make sure that these facilities are used and that we help grow the base. That’s the reason the county made the investment on it,” Voyles said.

In November, the Exhibit Hall Authority approved a memorandum of understanding with the county and the Atlanta Braves for the financing of the proposed stadium. The authority agreed to issue $368 million in revenue bonds. Lee expects the bonds will be issued this summer.

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