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Suntrust Park and Mercedes Benz Stadium Meet Atlanta

Josh Hafif, Staff Writer

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By mid-2017 Atlanta’s two massive architectural projects will be completed, giving new homes to the state’s national sports teams. The well-known Falcons and the new Atlanta United FC  – a major league soccer team- will play in the Mercedes Benz stadium, while the Braves will leave Turner F
ield for a new home at Suntrust Park.

Both projects took much time and money and could greatly benefit both the city and the teams that inhabit it. Mercedes Benz stadium began construction in May of 2014 and is scheduled to open on July 30th of this year with an Atlanta United game. The stadium is expected to cost 1.6 billion dollar
s, and will display many new, high tech features.

Plans include an eight-panel retractable roof and an oval shaped halo video board that would be, “three times as large as the current largest single display board in the NFL”(Rob Hamilton – CBS Atlanta). Windows will also be placed on the eastern side of the arena to allow fans to see the Atlanta skyline. The stadium also has the ability to transform for soccer, including retractable lower bowl seats, and curtains this will lower the capacity from 75,000 down to 40,000 in an effort to make the stadium feel more intimate for fans.

Suntrust Park, which opened on February 24th of 2017,  was an enormous project as well, with a final construction cost of 1.1 billion dollars. The stadium only holds 41,500 people, which is 8,000 fewer than Turner Field, and was designed by Populous, an architectural firm that has designed 19 of 30 major league stadiums in use. $400 million dollars of the total budget will be used to create an entertainment district that will feature, “a street lined with retail, restaurants and bars leading up to the stadium”(Greg Bluestein, The Atlanta Journal Constitution).

These new Atlanta developments have already been scheduled to hold many of the country’s major events in the next decade. The Mercedez Benz Stadium will hold the NCAA Peach Bowl, as well as the SEC championship
for the next ten years. The arena will also hold the 2018 College Football Playoff National Championship, Super Bowl LIII, and the Men’s College Basketball Final Four in 2020. The Braves will play a soft opening game in Suntrust Park against the New York Yankees on March 31st, and get to call the stadium home for many decades to come.

 

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