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Tuesday, September 25, 2012

AJC: Gwinnett still awaits stadium commercial development

If you build it, will they come? Apparently not in the case of the Gwinnett County ballpark:

Developer Brand Morgan still hopes to build the office, retail, hotel and residential complex he promised when he sold Gwinnett the land for the $64 million minor league baseball stadium on Buford Drive in Lawrenceville. But the owner of one of the properties needed for the development says those plans are unrealistic and wants to replace commercial buildings with hundreds of apartments.

Critics fear substituting apartments for upscale commercial space will lower the property values of nearby residents and generate less tax revenue for the county.

Tuesday, the Gwinnett Board of Commissioners likely will reject the changes to the original plan.

HT to J.C. Bradbury.

Mike Emeigh Posted: September 25, 2012 at 09:38 AM | 17 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: atlanta, business, minor leagues

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   1. Pat Rapper's Delight Posted: September 25, 2012 at 10:00 AM (#4245011)
The taxpayers of Arlington have been waiting 20 years for the many promised upscale shopping, dining, and entertainment destinations adjacent to The Ballpark in Arlington that were in the flyover animation accompanying the sales tax approval campaign.

Instead, they got JerryWorld.
   2. Kyle S at work Posted: September 25, 2012 at 10:15 AM (#4245037)
Yeah, JC got this one right.
   3. villageidiom Posted: September 25, 2012 at 10:24 AM (#4245044)
The taxpayers of Arlington have been waiting 20 years for the many promised upscale shopping, dining, and entertainment destinations adjacent to The Ballpark in Arlington that were in the flyover animation accompanying the sales tax approval campaign.
Boston would be the counterexample. The amount of real estate development in the Fenway area is astounding, especially since the Fenway area wasn't awash in vacant lots to begin with, and real estate prices were ludicrous when current ownership bought the team.

But perhaps that's the difference: it's a downtown stadium, already surrounded by buildings, with transportation infrastructure, and other nearby businesses (hospitals, Boston University) looking to expand their footprint all in the same tight quarters. A stadium on the outskirts, surrounded by parking lots, isn't nearly the same situation and doesn't produce the same viability for that kind of development.

The other key, I think, is you need an owner who (a) recognizes the benefit the team gets from local development, and (b) didn't pile all his cash into buying the team in the first place. Then you get ownership who will put their money where their mouth is, and help to get development going. If it's a good investment, it's a better investment for team owners.
   4. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: September 25, 2012 at 10:44 AM (#4245058)
But perhaps that's the difference: it's a downtown stadium, already surrounded by buildings, with transportation infrastructure, and other nearby businesses (hospitals, Boston University) looking to expand their footprint all in the same tight quarters. A stadium on the outskirts, surrounded by parking lots, isn't nearly the same situation and doesn't produce the same viability for that kind of development


Yeah. I can't really grasp how you could compare the on-going, constant renovation and reinvention of the Fenway neighborhood, in the middle of Boston proper, with something like the wishcast of high-end development up there around CoolRay Field. I live in West Midtown, in the city of Atlanta. To get to that stadium I have to drive 30 minutes north on I85 (without traffic - with traffic it's an hour or more.) The only existing development in the area are a few residential neighborhoods and the Mall of Georgia.

There's no way that turns into Fenway, man.
   5. SOLockwood Posted: September 25, 2012 at 10:54 AM (#4245069)
Of course it's not going to turn into Fenway. If that's what was being used to sell the plan everyone involved in the decision process should have their children taken away.

Have there been *any* examples of minor league stadium complexes in the exurbs of a major metro area that have produced a major development spur?
   6. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: September 25, 2012 at 12:03 PM (#4245155)
Have there been *any* examples of minor league stadium complexes in the exurbs of a major metro area that have produced a major development spur?


I have no idea. There is this sort of subtextual thing going on up in Outer Gwinnetia where they seem to be trying to start a suburban counter-center to Atlanta proper. (Mostly because the suburban white folks don't want to come into the darker hued city for sporting events.) They've been trying to get the Falcons to build an open-air stadium out there forever.
   7. Mike A Posted: September 25, 2012 at 12:13 PM (#4245176)
Mostly because the suburban white folks don't want to come into the darker hued city for sporting events.

As a suburban white folk, I would say it's much, much more because it's a colossal pain in the *** to get downtown for anything.
   8. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: September 25, 2012 at 12:42 PM (#4245218)
As a suburban white folk, I would say it's much, much more because it's a colossal pain in the *** to get downtown for anything.


Well if you jackasses would fund some transit investment we wouldn't have that problem, would we?
   9. Pat Rapper's Delight Posted: September 25, 2012 at 01:11 PM (#4245245)
Have there been *any* examples of minor league stadium complexes in the exurbs of a major metro area that have produced a major development spur?

There's a big shopping mall across the street from where the Rough Riders play in Frisco, but that was already there before they built the park. There's a new Ikea just south of the park, but it was a vacant lot at the corner of two main highways and something was going to go in there, ballpark or no ballpark.

Embassy Suites built a hotel on the north side of the ballpark. Does that count?
   10. Moloka'i Three-Finger Brown (Declino DeShields) Posted: September 25, 2012 at 02:15 PM (#4245322)
Have there been *any* examples of minor league stadium complexes in the exurbs of a major metro area that have produced a major development spur?


Subject to disagreements over the scope of the word "major," I'm going to guess that such a scenario is almost impossible.
   11. ellsbury my heart at wounded knee Posted: September 25, 2012 at 02:17 PM (#4245326)
Have there been *any* examples of minor league stadium complexes in the exurbs of a major metro area that have produced a major development spur?


I don't know much about the Durham area or what it was like before the Bulls were there, but the area around the Bulls stadium is pretty nice. I guess that's more in the actual city than in the exurbs, though.
   12. DA Baracus Posted: September 25, 2012 at 02:32 PM (#4245356)
Oh, Gwinnexico. I hope they get the Falcons stadium to complete the county funded bad idea hat trick.
   13. Greg Schuler Posted: September 25, 2012 at 04:06 PM (#4245462)
Frawley Stadium in Wilmington, DE anchored the Riverfront development, which now consists of a mall and apartments and restaurants and several businesses. How successful it has been is debatable, but it did happen.
   14. Mike A Posted: September 25, 2012 at 04:30 PM (#4245490)
Well if you jackasses would fund some transit investment we wouldn't have that problem, would we?

Easy to cast stones, but there's only so much people are willing to spend on transit investment considering what a colossal boondoggle it has been in the past. MARTA, for example, has been a pretty big disaster financially and service-wise.

Plus, most people simply don't/won't benefit from it. Atlanta is such a crazy spread-out city that public transportation is a difficult proposition. In many ways, it's just...too late.
   15. Fernigal McGunnigle has become a merry hat Posted: September 25, 2012 at 05:41 PM (#4245605)
At Fenway you walk out of the park and want to get a beer or get a meal or something. In a suburban park you walk out of the park and want to get into your car, and you can get that beer or meal wherever you want to.

I don't know much about the Durham area or what it was like before the Bulls were there, but the area around the Bulls stadium is pretty nice. I guess that's more in the actual city than in the exurbs, though.


Yeah, the the Bulls' park is not too many blocks from the heart of downtown. Downtown Durham has really boomed in the last 10 years or so. 15-20 years ago there was next to nothing downtown, so it's been a huge change. Some of that is the ballpark, most of it isn't.

(I will say that I miss the way downtown Durham smelled when the tobacco manufacturers were still there. The whole city smelled like curing tobacco for a couple of months a year. That smell plus a game at the old Durham Athletic Park...)
   16. DA Baracus Posted: September 25, 2012 at 05:48 PM (#4245611)
MARTA, for example, has been a pretty big disaster financially and service-wise.


It is, or at least two years ago was, one of the most financially efficient bus services in the country.
   17. Robert in Manhattan Beach Posted: September 25, 2012 at 05:50 PM (#4245613)
This is pretty hard to understand. Truly nothing goes together better than minor league baseball and upscale shopping, dining and entertainment.

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