Truist Park set gold standard in mixed-use



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Atlanta Braves stadium update September 2023 Image: Mortenson

The Major League Baseball (MLB) team Atlanta Braves planned to build a new sports venue after the lease for their downtown venue ended. Their stadium at the time, the Turner Field in Atlanta, Georgia (US), was a structure originally built for the 1996 Summer Olympics and converted into a stadium in 1997. The stadium was older and owned by the City, and the surrounding neighborhood lacked the right amenities to attract fans year-round. And with the majority of the season ticketholders in Northern Atlanta, the Turner Field was located too far from the Braves’ fan base.

‘Mortenson’ stated that the team wanted a newer venue with a mixed-use development to create an enhanced fan experience and appeal to the patrons beyond the baseball season. They needed a location close to their fan base, and it was critical for the stadium and development to open simultaneously and in time for the April 2017 season opener.

The Atlanta Braves are an American professional baseball team based in the Atlanta metropolitan area. The Braves compete in Major League Baseball (MLB) as a member club of the National League East division. The Braves were founded in Boston, Massachusetts (US) in 1871 as the Boston Red Stockings.

The 41,084-capacity Truist Park is a baseball stadium in the Atlanta metropolitan area, approximately 10 miles Northwest of downtown Atlanta in the unincorporated community of Cumberland in Cobb County, Georgia (US). Opened in 2017, it is the ballpark of Major League Baseball’s (MLB’s) Atlanta Braves.

The 49,586-capacity Turner Field was a baseball stadium located in Atlanta, Georgia (US). From 1997 to 2016, it served as the home ballpark to the Atlanta Braves of Major League Baseball (MLB). Originally built as the Centennial Olympic Stadium in 1996 to serve as the centerpiece of the 1996 Summer Olympics, it was converted into a baseball stadium to serve as the new home of the team.

The stadium has been reconfigured for the second time, redesigned for college football in 2017 as the 24,333-capacity Center Parc Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia, for the Georgia State University.

The Georgia State University is a public research university in Atlanta, Georgia. Founded in 1913, it is one of the University System of Georgia’s four research universities.

‘Mortenson’ further stated that a stadium construction project of this magnitude required precise scheduling and sequencing to deliver everything on time. As such, coordination and communication among all design and construction partners were essential to this project’s success.
 

Planning and Phasing a Ballpark and Adjacent Mixed-Use Development

Building a mixed-use development adjacent to the Truist Park added a layer of complexity to the stadium construction project. Any material or construction delays would have triggered a domino effect that impacted the developer and contractors working on the project. Two specific key deliverables had no room for extensions or errors.
 

1. Moving the Atlanta Braves into their New Office Space

The Braves needed to move out of their team offices at Turner Field and into offices at the new ballpark by January. Opening offices in the middle of an active construction zone presented numerous safety and security concerns. Extra measures would be needed to route foot traffic safely through the site while adhering to strict code requirements.
 

2. Completing Construction before the Season Opener

Another even bigger challenge was ensuring both the ballpark and the mixed-use development were open for the first home game in April. Most importantly, the ballpark needed to be fully functional to welcome players and fans. The Braves were also in the process of selling suites and leasing business space, they needed the surrounding development to be “storefront ready” to provide a complete experience for the visitors and the businesses.
 

Developing Solutions for On-time Project Delivery

As part of the team American Builders 2017, Mortenson was responsible for overseeing the project sequencing, working with the partners to deliver each phase on time, and communicating updates to the Braves’ ownership. Bill Hedge, Project executive at Mortenson, likened the experience to coordinating an orchestra, with each partner playing an essential role in the piece. He said, “If it’s not coordinated properly, all you have is noise.”

Minneapolis (US)-based Mortenson is a top-25 builder, developer and provider of energy and engineering services committed to helping organizations move their strategies forward. Mortenson’s broad portfolio of integrated services ensures that its customers’ investments result in high-performing assets. The result is a turnkey partner, fully invested in the business success of its customers.

Planning meetings became essential in coordinating schedules and navigating design changes that occurred during the early project stages. Mortenson’s team provided weekly and monthly schedule updates and worked with each of the project partners to ensure deadlines were met.

The team used Building Information Modeling (BIM) to sequence each construction phase and provide the ownership with a clear understanding of how things would look as the project progressed. Additionally, the models, paired with virtual reality (VR) technology, helped the Braves visualize and sell club space and suites before the ballpark opened.

The Building Information Modeling (BIM) is a workflow process. It’s based around models used for the planning, design, construction, and management of building and infrastructure projects.

Prefabrication helped keep construction on schedule amid a tight timeline and worker shortages. The stadium’s brick façade was prefabricated offsite, and the team worked with the contractors to prefabricate mechanical-electrical components before installation. These efforts produced significantly faster results than laying one brick at a time and installing mechanical components separately.

To open the team offices on time, Mortenson worked with the code officials to open that area of the development to the public early and installed temporary barriers to keep people out of active construction areas.

Said Hedge, “With sports construction, you don’t get extensions. The ball game is happening regardless. You need to be focused and proactive throughout the project, set a realistic schedule and know the milestones you need to hit and when to hit them.”
 

Successfully Delivering a Ballpark and Adjacent Development on Schedule

The Truist Park was completed on schedule in March 2017 and is Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Silver Certified. The project was delivered by the American Builders 2017, a joint venture comprising Brasfield & Gorrie, Mortenson Construction, Barton Malow Company, and the New South Construction Company.

The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) is a Green building certification program used worldwide. Developed by the nonprofit U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), it includes a set of rating systems for the design, construction, operation, and maintenance of Green buildings, homes and neighborhoods, which aims to help the building owners and operators be environmentally responsible and use resources efficiently.

Washington, D.C., (US)-based the U.S. Green Building Council, co-founded by Mike Italiano, David Gottfried and Rick Fedrizzi in 1993, is a private 5013, membership-based nonprofit organization that promotes sustainability in building design, construction and operation.

Brasfield & Gorrie, LLC, headquartered in Birmingham, Alabama, is one of the United States’ largest privately-held construction firms, providing general contracting, design-build and construction management services for a wide variety of markets.

For nearly a century, Michigan (US)-based Barton Malow has been committed to Building with the American Spirit: People, Projects and Communities. The Barton Malow Family of Companies comprises four entities and five partner firms across North America. With more than 3,000 team members and 16 offices, its 100 percent employee-owned enterprise is on a mission to transform the construction industry through innovation and increased efficiencies in the building process.

Atlanta (US)-based the New South Construction Company believes that service to its customers would provide and establish a path for its company’s future. From day one, its foundation has been based on taking care of its clients and it has paid off handsomely as the majority of the company’s projects today consist of repeat business and referrals, proving they have undoubtedly succeeded in their early mission.

Working as a unified team – owners, developers, designers, architects, contractors, subcontractors, and suppliers – made this project a success and allowed the team to welcome fans to the ballpark and adjacent development in time for the season opener.

The Truist Park and The Battery set the gold standard for sports-anchored, mixed-use developments. Having the right teams in place and being strategic in planning and scheduling allowed the on-time delivery of this complex, large-scale sports construction project.

The Battery Atlanta is a mixed-use development located in the Atlanta metropolitan area, approximately 10 miles (16 km) Northwest of downtown Atlanta in the unincorporated community of Cumberland, in Cobb County, Georgia US). It is adjacent to the Truist Park, home of the Atlanta Braves.

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