Moderated by Rick Badie
The Atlanta Braves have announced plans to build a new stadium in Cobb County and begin play there in 2017. At that point, Turner Field, also known as “The Ted,” is to be demolished. Today, we discuss the economic impact the move may have on the city as well as nearby neighborhoods like the Pittsburgh community.
Braves remain a city brand
By William Pate
As a lifelong Atlanta resident and Braves fan, I share the disappointment of many with the Braves’ decision to move to Cobb County. It is difficult to imagine the team leaving a historic part of town where Hank Aaron surpassed Babe Ruth, where the Braves won their first World Series in Atlanta, and where Atlanta hosted the opening and closing ceremonies of the Centennial Olympic Games.
Emotionally, this move is very hard to accept.
But it is equally important to keep this announcement in perspective. Atlanta is not losing its baseball franchise. The team is simply moving ten 10 miles up the road. That is why I believe the impact on Atlanta’s broader hospitality industry will be minimal.
The few hotels within walking distance of the stadium will bear the brunt of the Braves’ move. According to the Braves’ economic impact study, visiting fans generate 110,000 room nights each year in metro Atlanta hotels. We estimate about 80 percent or 88,000 of those room nights are in downtown, Midtown and Buckhead.
It is logical to assume the majority of these visitors will continue to stay within the city limits. Consider a the family of four that who comes for a Saturday night Braves’ game. They arrive Friday night and have Saturday to enjoy Atlanta. This family will likely continue to stay downtown, within walking distance of Georgia Aquarium, World of Coca-Cola, Inside CNN Studio Tour and Centennial Olympic Park. Couples without children tend to stay in Buckhead or Midtown to take advantage of dining, nightlife and shopping options.
Some visitors will choose to stay near the new stadium. We estimate the impact will be minimal — about 20 percent of those 88,000 room nights. With our current pace of growth, we believe Atlanta’s hospitality industry will be able to absorb those 17,600 room nights over the next three years.
Next year, $1.4 billion in new hospitality inventory will come online that will draw visitors to our city core. Two new attractions — the National Center for Civil and Human Rights, and the College Football Hall of Fame — will join our downtown tourism district. The Atlanta Streetcar will further enhance accessibility downtown.
Buckhead’s position as the Southeast capital of shopping, dining, and entertainment will be further enhanced with the opening of Buckhead Atlanta. Just east of Midtown, Ponce City Market will become Atlanta’s own version of New York’s Chelsea Market, offering a unique retail, dining and entertainment experience to visitors and locals.
It is disappointing our baseball team will be leaving the area it has they have called home for almost 50 years. But the Atlanta Braves will still bring visibility and recognition to our city’s brand through its national television exposure. The Braves have always been, and will continue to be, a great partner of Atlanta and the Atlanta Convention & Visitors Bureau. If a housing and mixed-use development comes to the stadium site, this could be a move that brings exciting new growth to Atlanta as well as Cobb County.
William Pate is president and CEO of the Atlanta Convention & Visitors Bureau.
Braves’ move leaves opportunity
By LaShawn Hoffman
The Atlanta Braves’ move to Cobb County creates an opportunity for Atlanta officials to adopt a comprehensive community development strategy that is creative, collaborative and inclusive of the five surrounding communities of Turner Field, known for the
past 15 years as the Stadium Neighborhoods.
While the communities of Adair Park, Mechanicsville, Peoplestown and Summerhill have had modest neighborhood improvements
, they have lacked a holistic, collaborative approach to economic development, housing and business infrastructure that would allow prosperity.
The Pittsburgh community,
and bearing a rich history, has been faced with many challenges in recent decades. Yet despite these challenges, residents have tried to beat back an in-depth land-use plan intended to foster business growth and wealth creation for residents.
We have developed the blueprint. What we lack is the spark.
The transformation of Turner Field should be
revitalization, we can re-create commercial corridors that spur business development and job creation.
If this does not happen, however, the converted stadium will very likely become to the surrounding communities what the original stadium became — an island of renewal in a sea of decay.
The Strategic Community Investment report
released by the city of Atlanta states that “improving the quality of life for all Atlanta citizens is a priority.” In the same report, the Pittsburgh community is noted as having “blight,” with 14.8 percent of its housing and lots in “poor or deteriorated condition” and sa vacant structure rate of 31.5 percent. city standards. These statistics are bleak. While Pittsburgh in particular has cultivated an engaged civic infrastructure, a neighborhood-based community development corporation and committed philanthropic partnerships, it is unlikely real economic development will happen in the near term without intentional, mission-aligned, public/private partnerships capable of driving investment back to these communities.
It is understood
the redevelopment of Turner Field will not solve all the issues of Pittsburgh. By weaving in the intensive planning that has already occurred and embracing a broader vision for the future of this historic landmark, the city will be better poised to achieve its goal of an improved quality of life for all
LaShawn Hoffman is chief executive officer of the Pittsburgh Community Improvement Association.