Sports city coming to Stonecrest

Jonathan Paden

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The proposed 22 soccer and football fields. The complex’s planned completion is the year of 2020

Developers announced plans Wednesday to transform a grassy field near Stonecrest Mall into a $200 million sports complex that will have amateur and pro athletes playing soccer, football, baseball and other sports.

Construction on Atlanta Sports City is set to begin this fall and will eventually include a 15,000 seat stadium, 22 soccer and football fields, seven baseball diamonds and five basketball courts.

The sports complex will be the second-largest facility of its kind in the southeast, only behind the Disney ESPN Wide World of Sports in Orlando.

“It’s been a long time coming,” Patrick Henderson said, CEO of Atlanta Sports Connection, the company that will own and operate the complex. “We’ve found a home for many, many years to come.”

With the first soccer fields scheduled to open by the end of this year, the sports complex will be one of the of two other athletic facilities opening this year. The Atlanta Braves will open SunTrust Park in Cobb County, and the Atlanta Falcons will begin playing their next season in the Mercedes-Benz Stadium in downtown Atlanta.

Besides sporting fields, the site also includes a sports medicine center, extreme sports area and nearly 339,000 square feet of retail space.

According to James Tsismanakis, executive director for Discover DeKalb, it could create nearly 2,000 permanent jobs and become the premier destination for sports and entertainment in the southeast.

“This will be one of the biggest tourism products and sports products,” Tsismanakis said. “Not just in the city of Stonecrest, not just in DeKalb, but in all of Metro Atlanta and all of the South.”

The Atlanta area has lacked a venue with enough soccer fields to host major tournaments that attract teams from around the nation, said Greg Griffith, executive director for the Georgia Soccer Association.

“Ask any soccer person around here in the Atlanta Metro area: What’s the biggest thing keeping them from growing?” Griffith said. “Fields. There aren’t enough fields. Look around. We’re going to have a lot of fields. This is going to be awesome.”

In all, Atlanta Sports City will be equipped to handle 22 sports, including lacrosse, martial arts, volleyball, cheerleading and more. Construction could be completed in 2020.

This is a rendering for the full sports complex. It will include a 15,000 seat stadium, 22 soccer and football fields, seven baseball diamonds and five basketball courts.  Photos courtesy of atlantasportscity.com

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