Atlanta United and DeKalb County today mutually concluded that they will not proceed with plans to build Atlanta United’s headquarters and training facility on the 41-acre site near Kensington Road and Memorial Drive in DeKalb County. The decision followed discussions and a mutual conclusion that the site is not a viable location for the complex due to higher-than-anticipated site preparation and remediation costs necessary for a project of this nature.
The land due diligence process, which included environmental and geotechnical site analysis, was directed by the county and began in early September. Under the terms of the non-binding memorandum of understanding between DeKalb County and Atlanta United, DeKalb County would incur site preparation and remediation costs, which are now estimated to exceed $20 million, making the site not financially feasible for the county, its taxpayers or Atlanta United.
As is common with due diligence work, both parties knew uncertainties existed entering into the memorandum of understanding, but were not able to accurately predict site preparation challenges and costs for the complex until the detailed analysis was completed.
“We are grateful for DeKalb County’s partnership in working through the due diligence process,” said Atlanta United Owner Arthur Blank. “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.”
The Atlanta United plan for developing the entire 41-acre site, in addition to the specific requirements of a Major League Soccer facility, made the remediation challenges unique to the project and factored into the significant additional costs for ground preparation. The site would be less challenging for many other commercial development projects requiring different uses for the land.
“We are also appreciative of Lee May’s willingness to explore alternate locations in DeKalb,” Blank continued.
“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.”