Reed: Turner Field will be demolished when Braves move - KMSP-TV

Reed: Turner Field will be demolished when Braves move

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ATLANTA -

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed says the city tried hard to keep the Braves at Turner Field, but the amount of debt required to make a deal happen right away would have been too much for the city to bear.  Reed held a news conference on Tuesday morning to discuss the team's decision, and he confirmed that Turner Field will be torn down at the end of the 2016 season.

Reed told reporters that claims that the city didn't want the Braves to stay badly enough simply aren't true.  Reed said the city was working with the Braves to improve Turner Field, including drainage problems in the area.  But in the end, the team got a great deal from Cobb County, and had to make a choice.  

"I'm not gonna bad mouth the Braves," Reed said.  "They made a business decision."

The Braves announced Monday that they plan to leave Turner Field when their lease expires at the end of the 2016 season.  They say they'll move to a new facility which will be built near the intersection of Interstate 75 and Interstate 285 in Cobb County, and that the new stadium will be the center of an entertainment district which they hope will be a destination for visitors 365 days a year.

Reed said he was told about the Braves decision last Thursday.  He said he got a text message that morning from the team asking him to meet, and that's when he learned that they would be leaving.  Reed said he was shocked when the Marietta Daily Journal broke the story on Monday, in part because he had a meeting scheduled with Governor Nathan Deal on Wednesday.  

"I hate losing... but there are times when other people make plays," Reed said.  "Cobb made a play."

Reed called the deal that the Braves got from Cobb County "one of the best deals in America."  The mayor said he wanted to be very clear that the deal the city has made with the Atlanta Falcons and the deal they were working on with the Braves are nothing alike.

Themayor pointed out that the Falcons are paying 80 percent of their stadiumcosts, while the remaining 20 percent is being funded through a hotel-moteltax.

According to the mayor, the Braves made aggressive demands on the city, though they never asked for a new stadium.  Instead, he said the Braves had been asking for $150 million in improvements to Turner Field, and $200 million more on top of that to improve the area around it.

Reed said the debt rating would have been in jeopardy, and that the city would have been under financial constraints for decades if they had opted to go forth with meeting the Braves' requirements. He said while he wanted the Braves to stay badly, he "certainly was not going to finance two stadium deals at the same time."  

Instead of proceeding with the Braves, Reed said the city is working on a 60-acre area "master middle class development" in East Atlanta.  That will be built after Turner Field is demolished.  Reed said plans were forthcoming, but he thinks the neighborhood will be the biggest beneficiary of the move.

Reed wished the Braves the best in working out their plans with Cobb County, but he said if the deal doesn't close, "The Ted's gonna be here." Well, at least until after the close of the 2016 season.

In a press conference held after the mayor's, Atlanta City Councilmembers vowed to do whatever they could to keep the Braves in Atlanta.

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