Braves V.P. promises economic benefits to Cobb County
The Atlanta Braves decision to move to Cobb County puts the team closer to its fan base, and will ultimately be a significant economic boon to the region, Mike Plant, the Atlanta Braves’ Executive Vice President of Business Operations, told the Georgia Association of Business Brokers this week.
In a 45-minute speech and question-and-answer session, Plant described the planning for the SunTrust Park and development, new destination ballpark complex that will attract guests year-round. He estimated that 80 percent of the contracts let on the development were from Cobb County, and the county will receive $27 million in property and sales tax in the first year it opens.
Plants estimated a $270 million total value of ballpark and development benefits to Cobb County. The development will create 5227 construction jobs and 3141 ballpark jobs. Visitor spending will generate 873 jobs and $25 million in earnings. The return to Cobb taxpayers will be $132.3 million over first 10 years, he said.
The initial SunTrust Park and Development will encompass 57 acres, with a 1.1 million square foot ballpark and a 1.5 million square foot mixed use development. The project represents a $900 million investment and a “long term play” for 30 years for the Braves, Plant said.
This is a $1.3 billion project and a “very aggressive plan that no one has ever done before,” Plant said.
Politicians don’t understand ROI—return on investment, Plant told Georgia business brokers on Feb. 24. In a detailed presentation, he described the development of the complex, which will include a multi-user entertainment center, retail partners and a public street with a walkable environment. He estimated $700 million in private investment.
The heart of the ballpark will be the plaza area with water features where programs will run 270 days a year. The Braves are close to announcing a deal with a 4-star hotel partner, Plant said.
The stadium will go to 41,000 from the current from 50,000 seats to create more intimate viewing and comfort. The suite number will go from 63 to 37, and the amenity group seats will drive revenue so that the other 37,000 seats can be more reasonably priced. Plant said the club understands that half of its fan base are families with kids.
There are plans to connect via bike paths to the Silver Comet Trail and the Chattahoochee River bike trail. The team is discussing connecting to the Cumberland depot and working on shuttle services from Smyrna and Marietta.
Plant says the Braves have considered potential parking problems, noting “I’m in the parking business every day. I hate it.” He described negotiations with nearby businesses to lease some parking spaces after most of their employees are gone by 6 p.m.
At Turner Field, there are primarily two ways to access parking from the interstate, while there will be 17 different access points to the new park, Plant said. He said the team would soon announce another round of enhancements and improvements in Cumberland area to improve the traffic flow.
The Braves also have a significant fanbase outside of metro Atlanta. Plant noted that 21 percent of audience comes outside of Atlanta.
Plant’s PowerPoint Presentation:
Plant’s responsibilities include overseeing stadium operations, security, finance, personnel, special events and the operations of the minor league clubs. He is currently the Braves Project Leader of the new $672 million stadium and mixed use development in Cobb County.
Since joining the Braves, Plant has implemented more than $50 million of improvements at Turner Field including the installation of the largest high-definition display in the world, and the upscale SunTrust Club. He also oversaw enhancements to Turner Field concessions, parking and traffic patterns. Plant also led the successful relocation of two Braves minor league teams to new stadiums in Pearl, Mississippi and Gwinnett County, Georgia.
GABB members represent owners of Georgia businesses and help them establish the sales price of their business, create marketing plans and strategies for the sale of their business, identify and qualify potential buyers, and work to protect the confidentiality of the entire process. Many of today’s business buyers are individuals who have decided not to re-enter corporate America, but are ready to control their own destiny by purchasing and operating a Georgia business.