After 43 years in Richmond, the Braves Triple-A team moved to the Atlanta suburb of Lawrenceville in Georgia's Gwinnett County, where the team chose to use the county's name in theirs.
Built a short drive from the Mall of Georgia and just 36 miles from Turner Field, the yet-to-secure a naming rights deal ballpark was simply named Gwinnett Stadium for its inaugural opening day on April 17, 2009.
Originally projected to cost around $40 million, the final price tag for the stadium swelled to $64 million, much of the increase having to do with the rushed construction schedule. Groundbreaking didn't take place until June 3, 2008, yet the stadium was deemed complete on April 1, 2009, an amazingly quick turnaround for a project of its size.
The county paid $5 million for the 44 aces of land that the stadium occupies. The surrounding 73 acres was rezoned by the county to allow for mix-used development, which includes a hotel and restaurant that are planned to overlook left field.
Gwinnett County owns the stadium. The Braves pay rent and retain most of its revenue. The team will pay $250,000 in rent annually for the first five years plus $1 for each ticket sold, with a minimum of $400,000 in ticket revenue guaranteed to the county. After five years, rent at the stadium will be adjusted upward based on the Consumer Price Index. The average estimated rent payment due over the life of the Braves' 30-year lease is projected to be $365,000.
As for stadium revenue, the Braves keep all but that charged for parking, which is split 50/50 with the county. In addition to retaining all advertising revenue, the team will receive $350,000 annually from the eventual sale of the stadium's name with the county retaining the remainder of the naming rights fee. The county is also allowed to use their stadium for 10 events each year.
To build the stadium the county incurred about $77.5 million of debt that is to be paid back over 30 years at an average annual cost of $2.59 million. The county borrowed $33 million in April 2008. Besides those bonds, a rental car tax and taxpayer money, funneled through the Gwinnett Convention and Visitors Bureau, have been earmarked to pay off stadium debt.
Location and Parking
The stadium is a short drive from I-85. Just take exit 115 and go east on GA Highway 20/Buford Drive. Parking is plentiful and paved lots encircle most of the stadium. The cost to park in one is $5.