By Maria Saporta
Atlanta United Football Club – our soon-to-be professional Major League Soccer team – sent out an email Wednesday evening declaring that it will build its training complex in Marietta.
Just last Friday, Atlanta United announced that it had reached a mutual agreement with DeKalb County to not build on property near I-285 and Memorial Drive.
The soccer team announced Wednesday night that it has entered into a binding memo of understanding with the City of Marietta to build a “state-of-the-art” headquarters and training complex in the Franklin Road Corridor in Marietta. The project represents more than $50 million in new investment by Atlanta United to the area and about 80 high-paying jobs by 2017.
The 32-acre site will include six soccer fields and will serve as the headquarters for Atlanta United players and staff. The release stated that the facility will be a catalytic economic development project announcement for Franklin Road.
“Since the approval of the Franklin Road Redevelopment Bond by City of Marietta voters in November 2013, the City has worked tirelessly to revitalize the Franklin Road Corridor,” said Marietta Mayor Steve Tumlin. “On behalf of the City Council and myself, we would like to thank the citizens of this great City who gave us the ability to purchase the dilapidating properties along Franklin Road and market that greenspace for economic development projects. It is because of the trust the citizens instilled in the City that we are now able to call ourselves ‘Home to Atlanta United!’”
The Marietta facility will serve as a training ground for the club’s first team and youth academy program and will be the host site for various youth development programs and tournaments. Atlanta United matches will be played at the new Mercedes-Benz Stadium beginning in 2017.
“We are very pleased to have found a home in the City of Marietta for our training complex, which further enhances the great support we’ve already received from the soccer community in Cobb County,” said Atlanta United President Darren Eales. “We look forward to not only developing a world class training facility, but also to engaging with the community and contributing to the revitalization of the Franklin Road Corridor.”
“This project represents an important milestone for Marietta and Cobb County,” said Brooks Mathis, senior vice president of Economic Development at the Cobb Chamber and executive director of Cobb’s Competitive EDGE. “We’re excited to partner with Atlanta United to bring quality jobs and economic growth to Franklin Road, and this is just the beginning. The corridor has ample acreage that’s still available to develop and market to prospective companies. This project is the realization of the vision of redevelopment Marietta’s citizens and civic leaders put into motion just two years ago.”
Atlanta United will also partner with the City of Marietta to develop a joint use community park along Rottenwood Creek and trails, bringing multi-use fields to youth in the community within walking distance of the training complex. The additional fields, which will be paid for, owned, maintained and managed by Marietta Parks and Recreation, will give the City and Atlanta United the ability to host tournaments and community events.
Planning for construction on the Atlanta United training complex is expected to begin immediately, with completion estimated by early 2017.