The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

Local News 2

November 12, 2013

Atlanta mayor: Turner Field to be demolished in 2017

ATLANTA —

Atlanta's mayor said today the city will demolish Turner Field after the Braves leave for a new stadium in the suburbs in 2017.

Mayor Kasim Reed said at a news conference that the stadium will not be left vacant after the team starts playing at a new field in Cobb County in three years.

"We're going to have a master developer that is going to demolish the Ted and we're going to have one of the largest developments for middle-class people that the city has ever had," he said, referring to the stadium's nickname.

The mayor said Atlanta had hoped to keep the team in the city but could not afford to do so. He says the city would have had to take on $150 million to $250 million in debt to make the improvements the Braves wanted at Turner Field.

Reed's decision to let the Braves walk came just a few months after the mayor faced tough criticism for pushing through a plan to use at least $200 million in public money to support a new NFL stadium downtown. While the city made a high-profile effort to help secure a new $1.2 billion, retractable-roof stadium for the NFL's Falcons, talks with the Braves quietly broke down over the summer.

The Braves unexpectedly announced Monday they are moving in 2017 to a new 42,000-seat, $672 million stadium about 10 miles from downtown in suburban Cobb County, apparently swayed by a lucrative financial package.

Reed said Monday the city couldn't match Cobb County's offer of $450 million in public support to the Braves, though county officials wouldn't confirm that amount.

The Braves stressed on a team website that the team and the county were still finalizing how expenses for the stadium would be split.

"At no time in our discussions with Cobb County, or any other municipality, have the Braves referenced a $450 million public investment," the team said in a statement on the site. "Reports of this figure are erroneous."

Mike Plant, the Braves executive vice president of business operations, said the team has not signed a contract with Cobb County, but he's "100 percent certain it will happen."

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