Writer: Brent Barron
Published February 22, 2017
Marietta Daily Journal
A multi-million dollar sports tourism complex featuring a 15,000 seat stadium, 22 multi-use fields and athletic training facilities is coming to the newly incorporated city of Stonecrest
Atlanta Sports City is a planned $200 million entertainment and recreational sports facility situated on 190 acres at the southeastern side of the Mall at Stonecrest, along I-20.
Developers officially unveiled the complex Feb. 22, which is estimated will draw 3 million visitors and create nearly 2,000 permanent jobs, according to a study by the University of Georgia’s Carl Vinson Institute.
The study stated the complex could have a $197 million economic impact across the state and pour $105 million into the DeKalb County economy alone in its first year open.
“With nearly $80 million in new demand for lodging, food and entertainment, Atlanta Sports City is the definitely going to be one of the biggest economic development projects around,” Said James Tsismanakis, executive director of Discover DeKalb. “Just 20 minutes east of downtown Atlanta, the location of this project is key; this will be a destination between Augusta and Atlanta allowing us the opportunity to compete for regional and national sporting events.”
The complex will feature indoor and outdoor sports facilities to accommodate more than 20 different sports, including 22 multi-use fields, seven sports diamonds and five indoor courts. There will be an area designated for extreme sports including a skatepark, ziplining, rock climbing, and team building activities.
It will also include more than 300,000 square-feet of restaurants and retail; hotels; meeting and event space; athletic training facilities; and a sports medicine pavilion.
The 15,000 seat Stonecrest Stadium is expected to be the home for two professional sports teams. A professional men’s soccer team is expected to locate there in 2018 and a professional women’s team is hoped to be established in 2019, according to Trey Brantley with First Team Soccer Club.
The complex is also intended to foster seasonal recreational sports leagues and tournaments for youth and adults as well as more competitive leagues for elite youth and semi-professional teams.
This could include hosting large regional soccer events, which the area currently lacks, according to Greg Griffith, executive director of the Chamblee-based Georgia Soccer Association.
“This facility will provide a place for dozens of local tournaments and give us the ability to bid of major Regional and National tournaments to bring these events to Atlanta,” Griffith said. “The proximity to Metro Atlanta and the best airport in the country, makes this a great location for a sports complex.”
At completion, it will be the second largest multi-sport facility in the southeast, with only the 220-acre Disney ESPN Wide World of Sports in Florida, according to Vaughn Irons, Ceo of APD Solutions, the developer on the project.
Irons said five locations were considered before landing on Stonecrest.
“This is the right place,” he said. “As a new city, we are moving to the next level. Let us be an example for working together.”
At least 25 percent of the newly created jobs will be reserved for Stonecrest city residents, Irons said.
The development is a collaboration between Discover DeKalb Convention & Visitors Bureau, owner Atlanta Sports Connection and developer APD Solutions.
Construction is slated to begin in the third quarter of 2017. Irons said the property was expected to be developed over the course of the next four years.
“You can tell your friends, I do not want to meet you in midtown — I want you to meet me in Stonecrest,” Irons said.