Articles

Hard Hat Tour of Gwinnett Braves Minor League Stadium Synopsis

An unseasonably cold wind was blowing on Tuesday, March 31st, but that didn’t slow the numerous trade crews and their monumental efforts to complete the Gwinnett Braves ballpark. Nor did it stop the many members of SMPS and DBIA from attending a presentation and tour of this amazing facility. Special thanks go out to Ashley Dale of Barton Malow, and the SMPS Programs Committee for all of their efforts to make this spectacular event come to fruition.

The day started with a special appearance by Gwinnett Braves mascot Chopper, who entertained everyone. With a backdrop of a welcome message to SMPS members on the video board, Beth Harris, of McDonough Bolyard Peck, and President of the SMPS Atlanta Chapter welcomed the group. Event sponsors, Crystal Plemons, of ATC, and Randy McCook, of DPS thanked us for the opportunity to be featured at the event. Proceeds from the event will be donated to the Gwinnett Children’s Shelter. Their Executive Director, Nancy Friauf, described the organization’s mission and how it all started 22 years ago with 3 women from the local PTA. And last but not least, Mike Castle, of the Gwinnett Braves, informed the group about ticket prices and options. By the way, tickets start at only $5 for a space on the lawn, up to just $15 for a box seat behind home plate!

The presentation of the design/build project was given by Phil Roy and Len Moser of contractor Barton Malow; Matt Mitchell, architect with HKS and Bill Blackwell, AGM of the Gwinnett Braves. The project is a wonderful example of the design build process. A ballpark like this one would typically take 22-24 months to complete from design to ribbon cutting. This one will be completed in just 14 months!

The following is a listing of notable project facts:

  • The stadium is developed by Brand Properties and is part of a much larger development that will include office, apartment, condos, hotel, and retail.
  • The ballpark will hold 10,300 spectators total (7,500 seats, 300 in suites, 2,500 lawn)
  • It broke ground 6/08 and because of a wetland issue was delayed 2 months and did not start building the structure until 9/08, but will be completed in 4/09!

 

Sustainability Features:

  • 1.5 miles of underground water storage pipe that will hold 775,000 cubic feet of reuse water saving millions of gallons of water per year.
  • The rock blasted for the underground utilities was placed in a crushing machine and reused on site for temporary roads.
  • Timed lights in parking lots and automatic light sensors in many locations throughout the project.
  • Local materials reduced fuel consumption, 95% recycled content in carpet, 10% pervious paving, and white reflective roof.

 

The group was then divided into smaller groups and toured the entire facility, including home team locker rooms, suites and back of the house areas. The suites feature granite counter tops, stainless steel appliances, and soon to be installed 50” flat panels. The super suite can accommodate large office or client outings and has a private sky deck overlooking right field. The ballpark has multiple bars and places to dine but all meals are prepared in a single kitchen and delivered to the patron’s location.

The Gwinnett Braves ballpark is an exemplary example of the design build process in action and will host countless fun filled days for our community.

Congratulations to all that were involved in such a marvelous accomplishment!

Mark Fore
CEI Engineering
Program Committee Member, SMPS Atlanta

Past Event Link

Event Sponsors:
Digital Printing Solutions
ATC Associates Inc.

Redevelopment in Georgia Program Synopsis

Maria Mullins, Director of DeKalb County’s office of Economic Development moderated an esteemed panel of industry experts including Ken Bleakly of Bleakly Advisory Group, Scott Condra with Jacoby Development, Ted Tarantino of MARTA and Bob Roche a City Councilman in Doraville.

Maria shared that based on current conversations with GM, there is no information to share at the present time. GM is not ready to talk about the redevelopment of that property until they work out additional details. The one criteria issued was the new development honor the legacy and history of the site and the plant. Once plans are developed, the city and county will work with GM to develop incentive packages to sustain the businesses and create opportunities for new companies to enter the market. Scott shared that the Ft. Gillem and Ft. McPherson projects have reuse plans prepared and are awaiting negotiations with the Army to finalize purchase and transfer. This should move forward in 2010 or 2011.

As the discussion turned to the impact of the economic stimulus plan on our industry, Ken shared that the market for Tax Allocation Districts (TADs) shut down about a year ago due to the interest rates and financing restrictions and thus deals aren’t closing now. Currently 55 cities and municipalities across Georgia are using TADs and as a result development has stalled. For recovery, the municipal bond market needs to stabilize. Second, the capital markets are frozen. Developers can’t get financing even with 50% equity. It will take a thawing of the credit markets to help get banks lending again.

Going forward, the focus is on infrastructure projects or projects tied to seaports and airports. It will take time for the retail and residential markets to recover and there won’t be many spec projects in the near future.

Bob Roche introduced the thought process behind the ordinance in Doraville that requires all new buildings to be LEED Certified before a certificate of occupancy is issued. It’s a win-win for everyone and he dispelled some of the misinformation related to certification costs. Atlantic Station is actually the first LEED Certified Campus in the nation and many others across the state and country are taking notice and starting to follow suit.

MARTA has already been affected by the economy. Ted shared that the Avondale project is ready to go, but currently on hold because bond financing isn’t available. Right now the plan is to wait another year or two until the economy rebounds before releasing any more projects.

Incidentally, Mayor Hartsfield purchased the land that became the airport during the Great Depression. NOW is the time to be planning for and looking at redevelopment.

Ashley Dale, CTI
Barton Malow
Director of Programs, SMPS Atlanta

Past Event Link

Event Sponsors:
DPR Construction, Inc.
Energy Ace, Inc.