Cobb County’s agreement with the Atlanta Braves to build a new stadium in the Cumberland Mall area leaves a lot of issues to be resolved in future negotiations.
The county late Tuesday released a 20-page Memorandum of Understanding that outlines the basic terms for building a $672 million ballpark and an adjoining mixed-use development on the 60 acres of land. The County Commission will vote on the proposal next week, without holding any public hearing related to the deal.
The agreement, as expected, calls for the county to be responsible for $300 million of the cost of building the stadium. However, it stipulates that the Braves have the option of cutting the stadium budget by up to $50 million, and thus reducing the team’s contribution by that amount.
Cobb Commission Chairman Tim Lee acknowledged there is a lot of work yet to do, and that meeting the deadlines in the agreement won’t be easy.
The Braves want the ballpark to be ready for the first pitch of the 2017 season. The agreement dictates that the county’s bonds be issued by Dec. 31, 2014; that construction starts by Jan. 1, 2015; that the team takes occupancy by Dec. 15, 2016; and that all construction be finished by Feb. 1, 2017.
The agreement runs through 2047, with the Braves having the option for a five-year renewal. The Braves will hire the architect and construction manager.
“It’s going to be a challenge,” Lee said. “This is a huge project and it’s very involved. But I think … we’ll put a good team together that will be solely focused on getting it done, and we’ll do what we need to do to get it done.”
Other agreements still to be negotiated between the county and the team include a stadium operating agreement, a development agreement, a transportation and infrastructure agreement, and bond financing documents.