With 30 months remaining before baseball’s Opening Day 2017, Braves officials are planning where to put the cars the team’s fans will drive to the team’s new stadium in Cobb County.
“We’re working parking every day,” Braves executive vice president of business operations Mike Plant told members of the Sandy Springs/Perimeter Chamber during a luncheon meeting at The Retreat at The Summit on Oct. 14. “I’m not worried about parking. We’re working on a parking plan. It’s going to be much better than Turner Field.”
Plant also said Braves officials don’t expect game-day traffic to add significantly to the number of cars and trucks that use the roads around the new stadium, he said. The new stadium is being built in Cobb County near the intersection of I-75 and I-285.
“We’ve got a huge team of traffic engineers,” he said in response to a question about what changes would be made to accommodate added game traffic in the area. “We’re working on building traffic and parking plans based on data.”
He said they expect a game will attract about 10,000 cars and all of those will not arrive or depart at the same time. And the stadium is used for baseball games only about 55 weeknights over a five-month period, he said. “We believe the impact is minimal,” he said.
Besides, he said, “a lot of our fans will be coming from the north.”
That’s one reason the Braves are moving. The new stadium, Plant said, will stand closer to the center of the area where the teams’ ticket buyers live than does Turner Field, the baseball park in south Atlanta the Braves have called home for nearly 20 years. “It’s is going to be much better for our fans,” he said.
Another reason for the move: the new stadium will be part of a multi-purpose, mixed-use development that will provide many more income opportunities. “A key part of our business going forward would be to not just have a ballpark,” he said. “The mixed-use development has always been one of the drivers, as important as making sure we have a world-class ballpark.”
Plant called the stadium project “a transformational event for this part of Atlanta.”
Development around the stadium will include housing, restaurants, and a convention center/concert facility, he said. The idea, he said, is to operate year-round and to give customers reasons to stay around longer on game days. “I think you’ll have a much better experience, start to finish, when you leave your home,” he said.
The new stadium itself will be smaller than Turner Field, providing 41,000 seats to Turner Field’s 50,000, he said, but the Cobb stadium will offer many more premium seats. A new Chop House restaurant will be four floors and offer more seating. “The Chop House is one of the iconic parts of Turner Field,” he said. “We’ve never had enough space there. [The new Chop House will be] about 2 ½ times the size.”
The new stadium will differ in other ways from many major league venues, he said. It’ll face a different direction.
“It’ll be a different position than Turner Field, with the outfield facing southwest,” he said. “A left fielder might have a little bit of a challenge late in the day, but that’s what we pay them for.”