Mandatory Credit: Paul Abell-USA TODAY Sports

Rain on the Stadium Parade

Justin Farmer is a reporter for WSB-TV/Channel 2 in Atlanta.  This afternoon, he posted the following on his facebook page:

JUST OFF THE PHONE with Atlanta mayor Kasim Reed.
Atlanta Braves leaving the city of Atlanta is NOT A DONE DEAL.

 

Mayor Reed told me the Cobb County piece of property has only been identified. It has not been purchased. The Cobb deal would include 450M in public funding. I also learned, the financial package won’t even go before the Cobb Co commission, officially, until November 26.

 

The mayor says he will soon release documents outlining the good faith negotiations the City of Atlanta had with the Braves for more than a year. He wants to keep the Braves in Atlanta, but told me he doesn’t believe Atlanta’s taxpayers should be responsible for 450 million dollars to build a new stadium downtown for the Braves.

 

He added Atlanta’s hotel/motel tax dollars are all accounted for to build the Falcons new stadium. Rushing off to the set. I’ll have more on @wsbtv at 4,5 and 6.
Earlier, Braves’ President John Schuerholz and additional team executives gave the following statements to reporters (via the AJC story):

 

The new ballpark will be built at the northwest intersection of I-75 and I-285 in the Galleria/Cumberland Mall area. They said the team has “secured” approximately 60 acres of land for the project.

“[The public funding] is through Cobb County, and Cobb County will be responsible for delineating the various buckets of dollars,” [Braves' executive Derek] Schiller said.

Schiller said there is not a signed agreement, but he and [team executive Mike] Plant said they are 100 percent confident at this point that the stadium will be built.

 

Let’s Put This Together

  • The Braves had enough confidence to make the announcement today.  That’s significant enough for me.  Nobody with the reputation of these men would do so without being quite a ways down the road in the process.  Furthermore, I seriously doubt that they would expose the Cobb County Commission without being reasonably assured of their buy-in on the project.
  • Since public funds are inevitably involved, this obviously wasn’t going to stay a secret forever… the public has to have a say.  The November 26 commission meeting will clearly be interesting – notwithstanding that last bulletpoint above.  Expect the Commissioners to be ready with their own charts and graphs of how the taxpayers make out in the deal.
  • It sounds like there are contingency agreements in place for the land.  That would explain use of the word “secured” in the statement above.  If the public package does not ultimately come together, then everyone walks away.
  • The Braves can apparently say that they tried to stay in Atlanta-proper.  Thus they cannot be accused of a cut-and-run.
  • These things do take time to put together – it is hardly surprising that every “i” isn’t dotted at this point.

We will continue to monitor developments as they occur.

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