Call it ‘homer’ or ‘small ball,’ Braves’ plans on track
July 17, 2014 04:00 AM | 2417 views | 0 0 comments | 30 30 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Though the Atlanta Braves’ move to Cobb has often and accurately been described as “a home run” for the county, the multi-step process by which that move is being accomplished can just as aptly be described as “small ball.” That is, the process of advancing runners from base to base toward home via singles, bunts and fly balls.

The latest such advance came on Tuesday when the Cobb Board of Commissioners voted unanimously to approve the rezoning requested by the Braves for the team’s $400 million mixed-use development that will surround the $672 million stadium in the Galleria area.

The commission’s vote changed the zoning to regional retail commercial from general commercial, office high-rise and institutional. It’s a classification reserved for mixed-use developments that exceed 500,000 square feet and contain a variety of uses. And it will allow the Braves to build up to 630,000 square feet of Class A office space, 500,000 square feet of “upscale” retail space, 450 hotel rooms, 600 “luxury” multi-family residential units and 100,000 square feet for a multi-use entertainment facility.

“I think the overall point is that the current entitlement for the zoning was this massive, un-uniform, piecemeal development, and it is extremely rare that you find 74 acres in an urban portion of a metro Atlanta county that can come in as one development, the county can control the entire 74 acres, and it be brought in a process that increases property values and provides for increased quality controls with a unified development of 74 acres,” said the Braves’ attorney, James Balli. “It is an unprecedented size, and I contend we will never again see 74 acres in a regional activity center come in under one development. It is simply too expensive to do it that way and only an entity with a 143-year credentials and economic credentials like the Atlanta Braves could pull it off.”

On that point, he is no doubt correct.

Braves executive VP Mike Plant said it would be but a few days until the franchise inks a deal with its development partner for the site.

Next on the horizon is the ruling soon expected from Cobb Superior Court Judge Rob Leonard on whether to validate the county bonds used to finance the stadium construction. Braves and county leaders are optimistic that it will be a favorable one, despite several challenges.

The team has already firmed up plans for parking. There will be about 7,000 spaces in the main stadium lot, with another 3,000 or so on a second, 13-acre tract on Circle 75. The Cobb-Marietta Coliseum and Exhibit Hall Authority will provide 1,900 spaces on game days, and another 2,050 spaces have been approved for the nearby Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre. That’s a total of 14,000 spaces, well more than the 8,500 spaces provided for the larger Turner Field in Atlanta where the team now plays.

Call it a “home run” or call it “small ball,” the Braves’ plans are panning out just as envisioned.

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