Braves’ new sta­dium has a name — Sun­Trust Park

The Covington News - - THE WIRE -

AT­LANTA (AP) — The At­lanta Braves new sub­ur­ban sta­dium al­ready has a name — Sun­Trust Park.

The team an­nounced the nam­ing-rights deal at a cer­e­mony Tues­day to of­fi­cially break ground on the 41,500-seat sta­dium, which is sched­uled to open in 2017. The fes­tiv­i­ties — in­clud­ing Ma­jor League Base­ball’s next com­mis­sioner, Rob Man­fred, and Hall of Famer Hank Aaron — took place in a tent sit­u­ated in the mid­dle of the mas­sive con­struc­tion zone.

Crews have been clear­ing the 60acre site, even though the team is still fi­nal­iz­ing de­signs of the hur­ried project. De­tails of the 25-year spon­sor­ship deal with Sun­Trust, the state’s largest bank, were not re­leased. Braves Chair­man Terry McGuirk said nam­ing rights al­ready were fac­tored into the pro­jected $622 mil­lion cost of the sta­dium.

“Ev­ery new sta­dium pro­vides a team with a unique op­por­tu­nity to im­prove its eco­nomics on an on­go­ing ba­sis,” Man­fred said. “I think what is spe­cial about this project is the scope of the project it­self. It could ge­o­met­ri­cally change the eco­nomics of this par­tic­u­lar fran­chise and re­ally pro­vide it with a great foun­da­tion for be­ing com­pet­i­tive for a very long time.”

The Braves have touted the sta­dium as not only a new place to play base­ball, but a chance to fully in­te­grate a mixe­dused de­vel­op­ment that will give fans other ac­tiv­i­ties to do be­fore and after the game. Those ameni­ties are lack­ing in the neigh­bor­hood sur­round­ing Turner Field, the team’s cur­rent home near down­town At­lanta.

Still, the move to a new sta­dium — an­nounced last Novem­ber — was stun­ner be­cause Turner Field is less than two decades old. It was built as the main sta­dium for the 1996 Sum­mer Olympics, then was con­verted to a 50,000-seat base­ball park for the Braves.

Braves Pres­i­dent John Schuer­holz said the next sta­dium will in­clude a four-story “Chop House” restau­rant over­look­ing the field, as well as field-level seats be- hind the right-field fence that will give fans a unique per­spec­tive. There also are plans for a bou­tique ho­tel, apart­ment homes, shops and restau­rants sur­round­ing the sta­dium, though the team has not pro­vided spe­cific de­tails on those phases of the project.

“The feel of this new ball­park will foster a one-of-a-kind ex­pe­ri­ence un­ri­valed in all of base­ball,” Schuer­holz said. “A new level of in­ti­macy at a base­ball park will be cre­ated.”

The city of At­lanta is still con­sid­er­ing pos­si­ble uses for the Turner Field site when the Braves leave, in­clud­ing a pro­posal from Ge­or­gia State Univer­sity to con­vert it into a 30,000-seat foot­ball sta­dium.

In an in­ter­est­ing twist, the Braves cel­e­brated the fu­ture while their cur­rent team fades from con­tention in the play­off race, hav­ing lost 10 of 13 games. The Wash­ing­ton Na­tion­als were poised to clinch the NL East — at Turner Field, no less — when the teams played Tues­day night.

AP Photo/John Amis

Sun­Trust CEO Wil­liam Rogers speaks dur­ing a ground­break­ing cer­e­mony Tues­day, Sept. 16, 2014, in At­lanta, for the At­lanta Braves new base­ball sta­dium, which will be called Sun­tTust Park. The Braves will be mov­ing from Turner Field in Ful­ton County to the new sta­dium be­ing built in Cobb County in 2017.

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