By Maria Saporta
The Atlanta United soccer team has narrowed its search for a major training facility to sites in Cobb and DeKalb counties.
A decision is expected shortly because it’s one of the key pieces that needs to be put in place before the season opens in spring 2017.
“We are currently in discussions with DeKalb County officials on a potential property for the training ground, but no definitive agreement is in place at this time,” the team said in a statement released today.
The site in DeKalb is near Memorial Drive in between two MARTA stations, according to a person familiar with the search. During an earlier briefing, team officials said they would like the facility to be near public transportation.
The team has also looked at a 49-acre parcel on Franklin Road in Marietta, the Marietta Daily Journal reported in early July.
Atlanta United launched its search for a training facility in March. The site could range from a minimum of 15 acres with four fields to as many as 40 acres with more than a dozen fields, Atlanta United President Darren Eales told Atlanta Business Chronicle at the time. Commercial real estate firm Cushman & Wakefield leads the search.
Atlanta United wants to identify a site somewhere in metro Atlanta by late 2015. Officials hope the training facility would be easily accessible to the new $1.5 billion Atlanta Falcons stadium downtown. Ideally, it would also be along a MARTA line. The team wants to begin construction in time to finish the project by late 2016. Its first season in Atlanta starts in March 2017.
The team views the soccer training facility as a amenity to encourage top soccer players to play for the team, to develop future players and as an amenity for the community.