|Address||755 Battery Avenue|
|Public transit||SunTrust Park:
Cobb Community Transit bus route 10A (weekdays only)
Cumberland Transfer Center:
MARTA bus route 12
Cobb Community Transit bus routes 10, 10B, 20, 25, 50
|Owner||Cobb-Marietta Coliseum and Exhibit Hall Authority|
|Operator||Atlanta National League Baseball Club Inc.|
|Field size||Left Field – 335 ft (102 m)
Left-Center – 385 ft (117 m)
Center Field – 400 ft (122 m)
Right-Center – 375 ft (114 m)
Right Field – 325 ft (99 m)
|Surface||Seashore Paspalum, Platinum TE|
|Broke ground||September 16, 2014|
|Opened||March 31, 2017 (exhibition game)
April 8, 2017 (college game, official opening)
April 14, 2017 (regular season)
|Construction cost||$622 million|
|Project manager||Jones Lang LaSalle|
|Structural engineer||Walter P. Moore and Associates|
|Services engineer||M–E Engineers, Inc.|
|General contractor||American Builders 2017 (A joint venture between Brasfield & Gorrie, Mortenson Construction, Barton Malow and New South Construction)|
|Atlanta Braves (MLB) (2017–present)|
SunTrust Park is a baseball park located in the Atlanta metropolitan area 10 miles (16 km) northwest of downtown Atlanta in the Cumberland neighborhood of Cobb County. It is the home ballpark for the Atlanta Braves, the city's Major League Baseball (MLB) franchise. The first regular season game was held on April 14, 2017 against the San Diego Padres.
The new stadium was constructed in a public/private partnership with a project budget of $622 million. Cobb-Marietta Coliseum & Exhibit Hall Authority issued up to $397 million in bonds for the project. The county raised $368 million through bonds, $14 million from transportation taxes, and $10 million cash from businesses in the Cumberland Community Improvement District. The Braves contributed the remaining money for the park and The Battery Atlanta. In March 2015, a security filing from Braves owners Liberty Media allotted $672 million for SunTrust Park and $452 million for The Battery Atlanta. It adds up to a total cost of above $1.1 billion. The Braves will spend $181 million over 30 years to help pay off the county’s bonds on the project.
- 1 History
- 2 Features
- 3 Public reaction
- 4 Other events
- 5 See also
- 6 References
- 7 External links
Leaving Turner Field
Turner Field had been the home of the Braves since the 1997 season. It was originally built as Centennial Olympic Stadium for the 1996 Summer Olympics, but was designed from the ground up to be converted into a baseball-only stadium after the Olympics ended--even though this eliminated the possibility of its use for other events such as track and field. The stadium was owned by the Atlanta-Fulton County Recreation Authority (AFCRA) and leased to the Braves, who had full control over its operations. Turner Field was a relatively new facility, younger than 13 of the other 29 major league stadiums, but there were numerous issues that led the Braves to seek a new ballpark.
According to vice chairman John Schuerholz, Turner Field needed $350 million in renovations—$150 million for structural upkeep and $200 million to improve the fan experience. Braves executive vice president Mike Plant has stated that capital maintenance would be much less at the new stadium. While Turner Field was designed from the ground up with the Braves in mind, Plant said that it would require higher capital maintenance costs because it was value-engineered for the 1996 Summer Olympics. This has led to higher capital maintenance costs in the long run. Plant estimates that capital maintenance costs at the new stadium will be no more than $80 million after 30 years – less than the $150 million in capital maintenance needed for Turner Field after 17 years.
Braves executives said that fans were unwilling to come to games in Turner Field's later years due to metro Atlanta's infamous traffic congestion. They also claimed that parking around the stadium is inadequate. Turner Field was under-served by about 5,000 parking spaces. In addition, Plant has noted the downtown location "doesn't match up with where the majority of our fans come from." Plant said that, although the Braves operated Turner Field, they had no control over the commercial development around the stadium. Other baseball stadiums built in recent years have been accompanied by nearby shopping and entertainment.
The Braves were in talks in 2013 with the recreational authority to extend the team's original lease, Plant said, but those talks broke down. Atlanta mayor Kasim Reed said the city could not afford to support the kind of renovations the Braves desired, especially while already funding Mercedes-Benz Stadium for the National Football League's Atlanta Falcons.
In the Summer of 2013, the Braves and the Cobb County Commission Chairman Tim Lee made a short list of possible locations in Cobb County. The location chosen for the park is next to the highway interchange between Interstate 75 and Interstate 285. The Braves claim the location is "near the geographic center of the Braves' fan base." During the park's groundbreaking the team announced that the naming rights were sold to Atlanta-based SunTrust Banks for a 25-year partnership. Braves officials announced that the park's capacity would be 41,149, which is approximately 8,000 fewer than Turner Field.
In January 2017, the Braves announced that SunTrust Park would have more than 11,000 parking spaces owned or leased by the organization for game day. This is 2,500 more spaces than were available at Turner Field. The Braves further unveiled plans to launch a private shuttle service that will serve managed parking lots and key points of interest in metro Atlanta. Specific routes will be released closer to Opening Day. The Braves also announced that Waze, the world’s largest community-based traffic and navigation app, will collaborate with the Braves and Cobb to share data and real-time updates with fans and commuters. SunTrust Park will feature a designated Uber drop-off/pick- up zone on Windy Ridge Parkway, adjacent to the ballpark.
In order to reduce traffic congestion, the Braves announced that games played Monday through Thursday would start at 7:30 pm. Games at Turner Field started at 7 pm on those days. There are approximately 30,000 parking spaces within 2 miles of the stadium.
The baseball stadium occupies 15 acres (6.1 ha) of a 60-acre (24 ha) lot, with the remainder of the space devoted to parking, green space, and mixed-use development. Although the new stadium will be over 10 miles (16 km) from the nearest train station, the Braves use a "circulator" bus system to shuttle fans to and from the stadium.
On July 8, 2015, the Braves announced an agreement for Atlanta-based Gas South to remain the official natural gas partner when the team moves to SunTrust Park. Under the agreement, Gas South will receive prominent signage in the new ballpark, including a 75-foot long "Bring the Heat" LED board in left field that will display pitching statistics and fan-friendly messaging throughout the game.
The Battery Atlanta
On November 20, 2013, the Braves unveiled plans to build a $400 million entertainment district that will surround the ballpark. The district will feature a street lined with retail, restaurants and bars leading up to the stadium. The $400 million is entirely funded by the Braves and their development partners. On October 14, 2015 the Atlanta Braves announced that the complex would be called The Battery Atlanta.
On December 10, 2014, the Braves released new renderings of the planned entertainment complex surrounding SunTrust Park. The new renderings further define the public spaces and show a blend of architectural styles, with a blend of steel, brick and glass facades. Derek Schiller said in a conference call with reporters that the rendering represent the concept of project's look, and is not the final design. But the locations of buildings and streets demonstrated in the designs are largely settled. Two taller glass towers, a hotel and an office building, will feature views into the ballpark. The complex also will feature a brewpub and Braves store. The Braves named architectural design firm Wakefield Beasley & Associates as the lead designer of the mixed-used project surrounding the stadium.
On March 17, 2015, the Braves announced a partnership with Comcast under which Comcast will provide high-tech infrastructure for SunTrust Park and will become an anchor tenant at The Battery Atlanta. Comcast will occupy 100% of a nine-story office building in the mixed-use development adjacent to the stadium. The office tower, which will overlook the ballpark, will become Comcast's Southeast regional headquarters. According to Braves chairman and CEO Terry McGuirk, Comcast will "lend its expertise to drive the most technologically advanced ballpark and mixed-use development ever built." Some 1,000 Comcast employees will work at the office building, most of them new hires. The office also will include an "innovation lab" for new technologies.
On April 28, 2015, the Braves announced a 50-50 partnership with Omni Hotels & Resorts on a luxury hotel to be built overlooking SunTrust Park. The full service hotel will be 16 floors and have 260 rooms. It also will feature a two-story restaurant, rooftop hospitality suites, and an elevated pool deck with views into the ballpark. The Atlanta Braves will be the 50/50 owners with Omni Hotels & Resorts.
On July 16, 2015, the Braves and concert promoter Live Nation announced a deal to develop and manage the long-planned entertainment venue adjacent to SunTrust Park. The venue will be called the Roxy Theatre in homage to the old Roxy Theatre that was torn down in 1972. The venue will have standing room-only capacity for 4,000 and feature about 40 music and comic shows annually. The theater is designed to help drive activity to the site on non-gamedays and it will also play host to special events.
The first restaurants announced for The Battery Atlanta were: Antico Pizza, Cru Food and Wine Bar, Tomahawk Taproom featuring Fox Bros. Bar-B-Q, chef Ford Fry's Superica restaurant and a new steak concept by chef Linton Hopkins.
On May 19, 2016, the Braves announced several new signed tenants at The Battery Atlanta including Wahlburgers, Harley-Davidson, and Goldbergs Bagel Co. & Deli. The opening of the restaurant outside the Braves' new Cobb County ballpark is expected to be featured prominently in Wahlburgers, the brothers' A&E reality television show about the business. Another big operator, national restaurant, retail, casino and entertainment venue developer Cordish Cos., plans a trio of concepts including a Professional Bull Riders Association Bar & Grill, featuring a mechanical bull.
The Braves chose Populous to design the new ballpark. Populous has designed 19 of the 30 Major League stadiums currently in use including Marlins Park, Target Field, and Yankee Stadium. The Braves picked Populous over HKS, Inc. who served as a consultant for the Braves prior to the selection of Populous.
On May 14, 2014, the Braves released the first renderings of the new stadium. The ballpark has a southwest orientation. Only a handful of other Major League ballparks have a southwest orientation. There were two factors that ended up determining the placement of the park. The topography of the land and the location of gas lines on the property. Before the ballpark was built a comprehensive sun study was conducted by the team and designers that determined the orientation would not be an issue.
A key design element is the use of brick. The masonry resembles patterns popular in the Southeast. Braves executive vice president of sales and marketing Derek Schiller says the masonry gives the ballpark’s exterior a look of “timelessness.” In addition, the Braves decided to use pre-cast stone. Schiller said “It looks custom hand-laid. It’s at all of the entryways. It brings the whole scale of the brick way down.” According to Schiller, by designing breaks in the masonry like porches, canopies, varying angles and trellises, “it not only creates shade, it also warms the architecture and gives it a different scale.”
Earl Santee, Managing Director of Populous, said his team “was very involved with the master planners of the development. The integration of this building (the ballpark) with those other buildings was really crucial to the success of the project.” The result was “a fully integrated experience that’s never been seen in baseball before.”
On April 16, 2014, Atlanta Braves and Cobb County officials outlined the timetable for the new stadium's construction. Site clearing was scheduled to begin July 15, 2014 and complete by October 13, 2014. However, site clearing started ahead of schedule after the Cobb County commission vote on May 27, 2014. The Atlanta Braves held a formal groundbreaking ceremony on September 16. The ceremony took place at the site near the northwest intersection of Interstates 75 and 285.
In order to start construction three natural gas lines that ran under the property had to be moved. The high cost of moving the gas lines is one of the key reasons the land had not been developed. The cost to move the lines was $14 million. The pipelines were moved to the perimeter. Two of the lines, which run about eight feet underground, are owned by Colonial Pipeline Company, and the third belongs to Atlanta Gas Light Company. The project was completed in early November, 2014.
In November 2014, workers started drilling the holes for the pylons around the outside perimeter of the stadium's footprint. According to the Braves vice president of business operations Mike Plant, phase one of construction for both the stadium and mixed-use development began in November 2014 and included infrastructure for the site, such as sewer, water and electrical systems. The retention walls for the underground service level of the stadium were also built. The underground level will have a few hundred parking spaces for players, team doctors, clubhouse staff and management staff. By May 2015, crews had installed all the caissons to stabilize the foundation. With the caissons complete the crews are beginning to pour concrete for the decks.
On August 27, 2015, the Atlanta Braves held a ceremony for the first brick laid of 775,000 bricks that will be the main exterior at SunTrust Park. On hand for the ceremony were dignitaries from the Braves, Cobb County government, and ballpark sponsors. The first brick was laid by Eutis Morris, 83, who laid the first concrete block at Fulton County Stadium and placed the first and last bricks at Olympic Stadium, which later became Turner Field. Also laying bricks were former Atlanta Braves player Hank Aaron and the team's current first baseman Freddie Freeman. The team also sealed two time capsules. The capsules included a video of the SunTrust Park ground breaking; parts of the Big Chicken; a 1948 World Series program; dirt from both older stadiums; a baseball signed by the 1995 championship team; and recordings from team broadcasters. These time capsules will be opened when the stadium is demolished.
In June 2016, construction started on a pedestrian bridge to connect SunTrust Park with the Cobb Galleria. The bridge will span Interstate 285. To fund construction, Cobb county plans to use $5 million given by the Cumberland Community Improvement District, about $4.5 million in federal grants, $380,000 from the Atlanta Braves and about $159,000 from a special taxing district in Cumberland created to help fund the new Braves stadium’s construction. The bridge is expected to be open in time for SunTrust Park's opening.
In July 2016, the installation of the seats for SunTrust Park started. Also, the installation of hundreds of LED lights were installed along the edge of the ballpark’s canopy from the right-field foul pole to home plate. Additionally, a large, light-up tomahawk was installed. While the new tomahawk will be similar to its counterpart at Turner Field, it will be upgraded. Meanwhile, the 108,000-square-foot metal canopy that will cover about 60 percent of these seats is nearly complete.
In August 2016, the canopy, lights and seating bowl were nearing completion and the last crane remaining on the field area was removed.
In January 2017, most of the exterior work was complete. The team began moving out of Turner Field the day after the Braves’ 2016 season ended, storing equipment temporarily at a warehouse. In December 2016, staffers began moving office equipment and furniture into SunTrust Park, and on December 19, team employees began moving into their offices. The playing surface itself is starting to take shape now that the drainage and irrigation systems are installed and covered with layers of gravel, sand and soil. The infield, pitcher’s mound and warning track were formed in December 2016. The final layer of topsoil that the grass sod will be planted was planned for January or February. The grass itself won’t be planted until late February or early March.
The Braves received the certificate of occupancy for the entire ballpark on February 24, 2017. With seats, video boards and most other elements already installed, the sod was one of the last missing pieces of the new ballpark. Workers began the installation of 109,000 square feet of sod on March 4, 2017, a task that took two to three days to complete. A couple weeks of testing will follow, and the soft launch events will start around March 10-12.
On March 8, 2017, construction camera provider OxBlue released a time-lapse video of SunTrust Park's construction. The high-definition time-lapse movie was produced using over 203,000 images taken by three cameras over a 21-month period.
|First game||April 14, 2017
Braves 5, Padres 2
|Ceremonial First Pitch||Hank Aaron|
|First pitch||Julio Teherán|
|First batter||Manuel Margot (Padres)|
|First hit||Ender Inciarte|
|First home run||Ender Inciarte|
|First win||Julio Teherán|
|First save||Jim Johnson|
The 2017 Atlanta Braves season was the team's first in SunTrust Park. The Atlanta Braves defeated the New York Yankees 8-5 in an exhibition game on March 31, 2017, in their first game in the ballpark.
On January 25, 2017 the Braves announced that the University of Georgia and University of Missouri would play the first baseball game in SunTrust Park on April 8, 2017. The Georgia-Missouri game was also the first time the stadium was open to the general public. The teams drew in 33,025 spectators as Missouri beat Georgia 6-1. Missouri's Trey Harris hit the first home run.
The Braves' regular-season opener was held on April 14, 2017. During pregame ceremonies, the Braves unveiled the team's 10 retired numbers on a left-field facade, and seven of the 10 individuals represented—Hank Aaron, Bobby Cox, Tom Glavine, Chipper Jones, Dale Murphy, Phil Niekro, and John Smoltz—took part in the festivities. The ceremonial first pitch was thrown by Aaron, with Cox serving as catcher. Aaron had also thrown the ceremonial first pitch for the Braves' first and last games at Turner Field. The Braves would defeat the San Diego Padres 5–2. Braves center fielder Ender Inciarte recorded the first out, first hit, first run, and first home run in the new ballpark.
The ballpark features an intimate configuration placing the highest percentage of seats closer to the field than any other ball park in Major League Baseball. Braves executive vice president of sales and marketing Derek Schiller stated that the seating bowl is aimed at putting fans closer to the action. Not by reducing the amount of foul territory, but with cantilever designs that push the middle and upper bowls toward the field. The ballpark will also include a 90-feet-wide canopy horseshoeing around the stadium's top and air conditioning on every level to ensure that fans remain cool on hot summer days. The existing topography of the property has been integrated into the design. The Braves are using LED lights for the stadium. LED lights provide better quality for fans in the stands and watching on TV. LED lights will also reduce the time it takes to restore lighting in case of a power outage.
Inside the ballpark, in the "batter's eye" area just beyond the center-field wall features three evergreen trees. The area also includes boulders and a waterfall/water feature. The green giant arborvitae is a large, vigorous, fast-growing evergreen—shooting up by as much as 3' per year until maturity. The Braves took inspiration from a similar setup in the same area of the Colorado Rockies' Coors Field. A fountain shoots streams of water 50 feet into the air, toward the main video board, from the upper pond. The feature figures to have a game-presentation role in celebrating home runs and wins.
Foul ball protection
The ballpark features an expanded protection from foul balls. The protective netting extends from behind home plate to the far end of both dugouts at SunTrust Park. Although longer, SunTrust Park's protective netting isn't quite as high as Turner Field's. The screen is 31 ½ feet high, compared to 35 feet high at the former stadium. Derek Schiller attributed that difference to the geometry of SunTrust Park and where the cables that hold up the screen are secured to stadium structures. From directly behind home plate, the screen extends 145 feet down the third-base line and 149 feet down the first-base line, according to Braves field director Ed Mangan. Schiller said innovations have made protective screens "thinner but in fact stronger," meaning "we're getting the ability to cover the most number of seats with the least view issues as possible."
The Braves selected a type of grass called "Seashore Paspalum, Platinum TE" for the stadium. The Braves replaced Turner Field's Tifway 419 hybrid Bermuda grass in the infield in 2012 in hopes the softer, thicker paspalum would slow down the playing surface a bit for the benefit of their infielders. The Bermuda remained in Turner Field's outfield, while the grassed areas of foul territory also were switched to paspalum. At SunTrust Park, the entire field is paspalum. It is a popular choice for beach golf courses. It also is used at Minute Maid Park and Marlins Park.
Monument Garden and statues
Unlike Turner Field, SunTrust Park doesn’t have a stand-alone Braves museum. But a well-appointed space in the main concourse behind home plate, Monument Garden, will display many highlights of franchise history. The Monument Garden features audio, light and water elements. The Braves partnered with Atlanta-based A-R-T & Associates to create a visual experience for Braves fans. The baseball-centric artwork highlights nostalgic moments throughout Braves franchise history. The 300-piece installation is largely comprised of original artwork ranging from portraits to action scenes, and complemented by macro photography, over-sized vintage baseball cards and a LEGO brick mosaic. The Braves took memorabilia from the Ivan Allen Jr. Braves Museum & Hall of Fame at Turner Field and incorporated it throughout the ballpark.
The focal point of Monument Garden is a statue of Hank Aaron. The statue was created and unveiled by Atlanta-based artist Ross Rossin. The statue captures the moment on April 8, 1974, at Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium when Aaron broke Babe Ruth’s long-standing career home-run record. Behind the statue is a sculpture made of 755 baseball bats in honor of Aaron’s career home-run total. A video screen will play an Aaron biography. Other statues will be placed throughout the stadium. For example, the bat and ball from Aaron’s 715th home run are displayed in the Hank Aaron Terrace above left field.
On April 13, 2017 the Braves unveiled a statue of former manager Bobby Cox. The new statue joined two other statues outside the ballpark featuring legends of the Braves franchise. The other statues include Warren Spahn and Phil Niekro.
Announcement and polls
After the new stadium was announced, citizens organized campaigns both supporting and opposing the plan, which was made public only two weeks before the Cobb County Commission voted. More than 80% of county residents supported delaying the vote, Cobb Chairman Tim Lee and Commissioner Helen Goreham insisted that vote could not be delayed because it would threaten the stadium's timeline.
An InsiderAdvantage/FOX 5 poll released on November 25, 2013, showed that 59% of registered voters in Cobb County favored building a new stadium for the Braves. However, support fell to 30% of Cobb County voters when they were asked if they'd support funding the stadium with Cobb County tax dollars, with 56% opposed and 14% undecided. On September 8, 2014, the University of Florida's Department of Tourism, Recreation and Sports Management released the first independent scientific poll on Cobb residents' attitude toward the public investment in the stadium. The survey found that 55% of the survey respondents would have supported the stadium in a referendum.
Public hearing and vote
Two weeks after the Atlanta Braves announced the new stadium project, the Cobb County Commission held a public hearing to vote on whether to approve the plan. Citizens who both supported and opposed the plan began crowding into the meeting hall hours before the 7 p.m. hearing was to begin, many sporting "Cobb: Home of the Braves" T-shirts. After a one-hour public comment on the new stadium project the Cobb County Commission voted 4–1 to approve a memorandum of understanding with the Atlanta Braves. On May 27, 2014, the Cobb County Commissioners voted unanimously, 5–0, on the operating agreement that bound the county to borrow up to $397 million to build the new stadium.
Appeal and aftermath
Retired businessman Larry Savage, attorney Tucker Hobgood, and Austell resident Rich Pellegrino filed notices of appeal with the Georgia Supreme Court, to argue against issuance of the bonds. Attorneys Lesly Gaynor Murray and Blake Sharpton of law firm Butler Snow, the county's bond counsel, represented Cobb in the Supreme Court. The appeal was heard by the Georgia Supreme Court in February, 2015. On June 29, 2015, the Georgia Supreme Court unanimously upheld the bond authorization. The failed appeal represented the last legal challenge to the SunTrust Park project.
In July 2016, Cobb County commissioner Tim Lee lost his bid for re-election to challenger Mike Boyce. Boyce had called the election a delayed referendum on the stadium deal, but Lee pointed to four other commissioners who were re-elected promoting the Braves.
|Date||Artist||Opening act(s)||Tour / Concert name||Attendance|
|April 28, 2017||Billy Joel||Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness||Billy Joel at SunTrust Park||37,109|
|July 9, 2017||Metallica||Volbeat||WorldWired Tour||N/A|
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