It’s now a done deal: today the North Port Commission approved their part of the plan for a move of Atlanta Braves spring training operations to a new Sarasota County complex, a move envisioned for 2019.
The Braves, who currently train in Disney World’s Wide World of Sports in the Orlando area, will train there one more time in 2018 before moving spring operations to the West Villages development in the City of North Port in Sarasota County. North Port is in the southern part of Sarasota County, and the closest camp will be Port Charlotte’s Charlotte Sports Park, spring home of the Tampa Bay Rays. That will make for a nice four-team cluster with the Rays and the Lee County teams (Minnesota, Boston).
With the North Port approval, the Braves committed to a 30-year Facility Operating Agreement in West Villages, with the option to extend the term in two, five-year increments.
The price tag for the complex, excluding land and infrastructure, ended up around $100 million — slightly higher than originally budgeted. Here’s the pricing breakdown:
- Mattamy Homes: Contribute the land, infrastructure and $4.7 million
- West Villages Improvement District: Oversee construction and development of the complex
- State of Florida: $20 million from Spring Training Retention Fund
- City of North Port: $4.7 million
- Sarasota County: Contribute hotel bed tax (TDT) dollars, about $21,262,000, for the stadium complex. Make an annual capital expenditure from TDT revenue toward stadium maintenance. The county will assume ownership of the stadium upon completion.
The rest (around $55.5 million) will come from the Braves, including the first $18 million of spending on the project.
The new complex by the numbers:
- 6,200 fixed seats and 1,000 berm seats
- 360-degree concourse walkway
- Two luxury suites and two larger hospitality areas that may be divided
- Six full and two half practice fields
- Outfield patio and bar area, with other gathering spaces scattered throughout the ballpark
- Press box for up to 25 people
- 55,000-square-foot clubhouse and office building for both major league and minor league operations
- Batting cages and pitching mounds
As noted, the new Atlanta Braves spring training complex is slated to open in February 2019, with a groundbreaking already set for October.