Atlanta United's plans for a training facility have hit a snag, with the club – set to join MLS as an expansion outfit in 2017 – announcing Friday that they will not proceed with building their headquarters and training facility on a 41-acre site in DeKalb County.
The decision followed a mutual conclusion by the club and the county that the site is not a viable location for the project due to higher-than-anticipated preparation and remediation costs, which – under the terms of a non-binding memorandum of understanding between the two parties – were due to be paid by DeKalb County and were estimated at $20 million.
“We are grateful for DeKalb County’s partnership in working through the due diligence process,” Atlanta United owner Arthur Blank said in the statement. “After reviewing the reports together, we are in agreement that the economics of the site have changed so significantly that neither party is comfortable asking the DeKalb taxpayers to take on the additional financial burden. Unfortunately, the site just doesn’t work for this specific project.”
While the DeKalb County option fell through, the club has been working on due diligence on a potential site for their headquarters and training facility in suburban Marietta, which is located in Cobb County.
Atlanta United will begin play in 2017 at Mercedez-Benz Stadium in downtown Atlanta, a facility they will share with the NFL’s Atlanta Falcons, who are also owned by Blank.
“We are also appreciative of [DeKalb County CEO] Lee May’s willingness to explore alternate locations in DeKalb,” Blank said. “However, as we previously indicated, we were working concurrently on due diligence on a site in Marietta given our time constraints, and we have made the decision to finalize discussions with the City of Marietta and Cobb County regarding the property located on Franklin Road.”