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Surprises Abound For New Braves And Falcons Stadiums

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By the end of the month, the Braves plan to announce the developer who will take on the $400 million "entertainment district" around their new Cobb County home. But as of this week, Atlanta-based Jeff Fuqua's group — composed of Fuqua Development, Pope & Land Enterprises, Batson Cook Development Co. and Pollack Shores Real Estate Group — is the only horse left in that race. That's because the team made up of Los Angeles-based AEG, Hines Interests and North American Properties abruptly dropped out of the running. The team has not disclosed their reasons for withdrawing their proposal, and we've not been able to reach them for comment. The selected developer (presumably, Fuqua) has until 2017 — three short years — to complete the massive mixed-use project.

Are you ready for some football? Well, you may have to wait. At least if you're ready to visit the Falcon's new home base, which was expected to open in 2017. The stadium risks being held up indefinitely by a court challenge filed by Buckhead lawyer John Woodham and former Fulton County Superior Court judge Thelma Wyatt Cummings Moore, who object to Atlanta's plan to sell $278 million in bonds to complete the $1.2 billion project. According to the SaportaReport, Woodham takes issue with the constitutionality of the hotel-motel tax, the demolition of two churches, failure to address environmental concerns and failure to have the Atlanta Regional Commission review the project appropriately. As 11Alive points out, Woodham has a long history of objecting to all sorts of things when it comes to development but is perhaps most (in)famous for his Beltline-related lawsuit, which delayed projects in the Perry-Bolton area by nearly three years and required the passing of a constitutional amendment allowing school taxes to be used for non-education-related purposes. The challenge could also threaten the NFL's contribution, a $200 million loan given with the stipulation that public funding is involved in the project.

· Lawsuit poses threat to new Falcons stadium [11Alive]
· Lawsuit contends stadium bonds unconstitutional, violate Georgia's environmental policies [Saporta Report]
· AEG, Hines and North American pull out of Braves project [Atlanta Business Chronicle]
· Fuqua-led development group now the lone contender to build Braves' 'entertainment district' [Creative Loafing]
Photos: Atlanta Braves and Atlanta Falcons