- Construction on SunTrust Park could be done by November 2016
- First game in $1.1 billion stadium won't be until April 2017
Construction of the new $1.1 billion home of Major League Baseball’s Atlanta Braves is about three months ahead of schedule, according to team executives.
“We’ve built a really solid, aggressive, efficient plan,” Mike Plant, head of the team’s business operations, said in an interview Thursday during a brick-laying ceremony. “No one has ever built a ballpark of this scale and scope in 39 months, and we’re going to do it in 36.”
The 41,500-seat stadium, 14 miles northwest of Turner Field and known as SunTrust Park, will be about 20 percent smaller than the existing ballpark and could be completed by mid-November 2016, Plant and Braves Chairman Terry McGuirk said. The complex will include a 250-room Omni hotel, a nine-story corporate office for Comcast Corp. and the Roxy Theatre, a 4,000-seat music venue.
The Braves are scheduled to move out of their offices in Turner Field in December 2016. Getting into the new venue earlier than planned will ease the transition before the first pitch is tossed in April 2017.
“If you were in New England or Minneapolis could you do this with their winters? Probably not,” Plant said. “We can work year round. That really helps us.”
The National Football League’s Atlanta Falcons are building a new $1.5 billion home in downtown Atlanta, adjacent to the 23-year-old Georgia Dome. The Falcons this week announced a 27-year agreement to have German luxury automaker Mercedes-Benz as the sponsor of their new stadium.
The Falcons have said they expect the new stadium to open in time for the start of the 2017 NFL season, about 10 months after the Braves’ facility opens. Plant said the Braves are not in a race to open their doors before the Falcons.
“There’s no real competition,” he said. “I hope they’re up and playing their first game when they expect to be.”