Photo of the SunTrust Park construction site in Georgia. Future home of the Atlanta Braves. 

SunTrust Park Construction

Image Credit: Thomson200

No, it hasn't even been 20 years since the Atlanta Braves began play at Turner Field on Atlanta's south side. A stadium originally created for the 1996 Olympics, Turner Field never really felt like the home of the Atlanta Braves. At least not like Fulton County stadium did many years ago. That's the perception from a fan that has been to both ballparks. The Braves will begin play at Suntrust Park at the beginning of the 2017 Major League Baseball season. Check out the progress thus far.

The partnership with Atlanta based banking giant Suntrust was signed in September of 2014 and the terms were for 25 years. Ground was officially broken for the ballpark's construction on September 16th, 2014. The food and beverage partnership was secured with Delaware North. The construction site is located at the intersection of I-75 and I-285 off of Cobb Parkway in Cumberland, Georgia. Many Braves fans found this location to be puzzling. If you've ever visited the city of Atlanta, you know that having a MARTA stop outside of the ballpark would be crucial for boosting attendance; something the Braves organization has struggled with these last few seasons.

Construction is being overseen by American Builders; a partnership of four smaller construction companies. Construction costs are estimated to exceed $600 million upon completion.The company has handled the construction and renovations of Minute Maid Park (Astros), PNC Park (Pirates), Coors Field (Rockies), Camden Yards (Orioles) and Target Field (Twins). Capacity is expected to be just north of 41,000 seats which is almost 9,000 fewer seats than Turner Field. The seating layout will also be much closer to the field creating greater fanfare and more intimacy for Atlanta Braves fans. 

Most of the newer stadiums and arenas around the country are being built with increased emphasis on private club and luxury seating. In fact, many sports venues are being built solely for that purpose. For a city like Atlanta with such strong corporate presence, this is a no brainer. The Delta Sky360 club, also at Citi Field (Mets), will be one of the prime private seating areas at Suntrust Park. It will be an upscale lounge accessible for 1500 ticket holders seated behind home plate. Information regarding the pricing of the private suites hasn't been released by the organization just yet.

Exterior photo of Turner Field. Former home of the Atlanta Braves.

Turner Field

Image Credit: Nicolas Henderson (CC BY 2.0)

If you were a fan of eating at "The Chop House" at Turner Field, have no fear. The Chop House will be relocated to Suntrust Park, this time in right field and will feature three levels and two party decks. More than 6,000 parking spaces will be made available to baseball fans and there will be plenty of dining and retail space immediately outside of the ballpark. This area will be known as "The Battery Atlanta" and there is plenty of hype surrounding it. Omni Hotels plan to build a hotel adjacent to the ballpark and the already standing Cobb Galleria will also be in close proximity to Suntrust Park. This is great for Braves fans considering there is nothing of interest immediately outside of Turner Field. 

The city of Atlanta will ultimately decide the fate of Turner Field and the current site. It will likely meet the demise of many former Major League ballparks and will be torn down in coming years. Land in a growing city like Atlanta is too expensive to just let the ballpark sit vacantly. Ultimately, Ted Turner and the Atlanta Braves couldn't see the ballpark as being adequate enough for another 20 years of professional baseball. The team is letting their lease expire at the end of the 2016 season. 


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