The Atlanta Hawks and Emory University are teaming up to bring a first-of-its-kind sports facility to the city of Brookhaven, expecting to break ground on the 90,000-square-foot venue this summer in Executive Park.
The privately-funded facility will combine the Hawks’ training facility and Operations Department with 30,000 square feet dedicated to Emory sports medicine facilities, the first such facility in the NBA. Emory will become the team’s official sports medicine provider and gets naming rights to the facility. Emory’s entire Sports Medicine Center will move to the Brookhaven site as well.
“I’m glad the Hawks realized they needed the city of Brookhaven to win a championship,” said Mayor John Ernst. “Brookhaven is now an NBA city.”
The announcement was made April 5 at a press conference at Philips Arena, current home of the Hawks, with team and Emory officials announcing the details. Also on hand at the press conference were members of the Brookhaven City Council as well as Interim City Manager Gary Yandura and state Rep. Taylor Bennett (D-Brookhaven).
Ernst said discussion with the Hawks and Emory University of the facility being built Executive Park began shortly after he became mayor.
“The city has been involved and it was between us and another area and they chose Brookhaven,” Ernst said. “It’s a great location, it’s intown and it’s staying true to Atlanta. Brookhaven is a big part of that.”
Ernst will be holding a town hall on April 28 to discuss the new facility. The town hall will be at 6:30 p.m. at Montclair Elementary School, 1680 Clairmont Pl NE.
The new state-of-the-art facility can only help Brookhaven grow and benefit the surrounding area as well as the entire city. Ernst said he also expects a hotel to be coming to the Executive Park area soon.
Council member John Park said he did not believe the new training facility would cause much more traffic than already exists in the heavily-traveled area off North Druid Hills and I-85.
“A 90-foot by 50-foot practice court is not the same as the space being filled by apartments,” for example, he said. The facility will not harm property values and traffic impact should be minimal. “It’s a perfect use for that piece of property,” Park said.
He is also excited about the Hawks and its dedication to community outreach and focus on wellness and health.
Council member Linley Jones said it is a feather in Brookhaven’s cap to be selected as the site for the sports facility that is like no other in the NBA.
“This is the joining of two Atlanta institutions in the city of Brookhaven. For the city of Brookhaven to be on the cutting edge for sports medicine in this way is a huge development for all people to be serviced by this approach,” she said. “This isn’t just about serving professional athletes, but also high school and college athletes and members of the public.”
Council member Bates Mattison said he believed Brookhaven was selected for the world-class facility due to the efficiency of the city’s government to meet the demands Emory and the Hawks needed.
City spokesperson Ann Marie Quill said the new facility is expected to bring some 200 new jobs to Brookhaven.
‘Exciting day in Atlanta Hawks history’
Atlanta Hawks CEO Steve Koonin said at the April 5 press conference that “today the Atlanta Hawks got better.”
The state-of-the-art facility will be able to attract and retain great talent to Atlanta, he said.
For Hawks Coach Mike Budenholzer, the news of the facility means putting the team on a more level playing field with other NBA teams.
“Collectively, we couldn’t be more excited about this partnership,” he said. “When we told the players yesterday — it was big. This puts us at a more competitive level.”
Dr. Scott Boden, director of the Emory Orthopedics & Spine Center, said Emory and the Hawks “looked at this venture through a different lens than any other NBA team” by combining the practice and training facility with the Emory sports medicine center.
Hawks owner Tony Ressler said it was just over eight months ago that a partnership between Emory University and the NBA team was started.
“We knew Atlanta was a great market … we knew we had a great coach and team, we knew that the Hawks had superior management and staff,” he said. But at the same time, the need for a top-notch practice and training facility was necessary. “This 90,000 square-foot facility will put us in the position to be a championship caliber team,” he said. “This is a very exciting day in Atlanta Hawks history.”