By Rob Hamilton

DECATUR, Ga. – DeKalb Interim CEO Lee May and members of the DeKalb County Board of Commissioners, in partnership with Atlanta United and Decide DeKalb, officially confirm that DeKalb County has been selected as the location for the new Atlanta United headquarters and training facility.   

Atlanta United, Major League Soccer’s 22nd franchise, begins play in 2017. The team, announced on April 16, 2014, and officially named on July 7, 2015, is owned by Atlanta Falcons Owner Arthur Blank. President Darren Eales leads the club, which will play in the new Atlanta stadium.

“We are excited to have Atlanta United FC as the cornerstone of our new “Downtown DeKalb” and as the catalyst for revitalization of the Memorial Drive corridor,” said Interim CEO Lee May.  “Not many people know this, but this location is right across the street from the first Home Depot store.  In a way, this is a homecoming, and DeKalb County welcomes Arthur Blank back home with open arms.”

“We are looking forward to our partnership with DeKalb County officials and residents in the coming years,” said Atlanta United Owner Arthur Blank.  “Building this training complex and headquarters is the next important milestone in our club’s history, and we are proud that DeKalb will be a part of it.”

DeKalb County will provide, via ground lease to Decide DeKalb – DeKalb’s economic development agency –approximately 41 acres of county-owned land near Kensington Road and Memorial Drive.  Decide DeKalb will be responsible for demolition of existing buildings that are no longer useful county assets, as well as other land preparation of the property. Atlanta United will build a 20,000-25,000 square foot corporate headquarters for the soccer club, three outdoor practice fields and a 3,500-seat outdoor stadium.  In addition, Atlanta United will pay to the County 15 percent of net revenue derived from any naming rights sold for the complex and any revenue-generating branded events. Ownership of all assets reverts back to DeKalb County at the conclusion of the 30-year lease including potential extensions.

“We are very pleased to call DeKalb County home,” said Atlanta United President Darren Eales. “This location will not only provide the space, functionality and flexibility we need for our first team and youth academy, but it also allows us to truly become part of the fabric of the community.  We are excited to be able to share the Atlanta United experience with our supporters and neighbors.”

The DeKalb County Recreation, Parks and Cultural Affairs Department will have 6,000 square feet of office space in the stadium. DeKalb County will make facilities use payments to Atlanta United of $2.33 million annually for three years, beginning at the time when the department moves into their new offices at the stadium.  For the remainder of the lease, this payment will be $10 per year.  The County and public will also have periodic use of the of the stadium and soccer fields. 

Click https://www.dropbox.com/sh/wn839n9iamudiqs/AABRN5OBVRmCv26jBe20-oHZa?dl=0 to download preliminary renderings of the training complex. 

There is no direct impact to DeKalb County’s tax digest as a result of this collaboration. The county-owned land is already tax-exempt and will continue to be tax exempt under this agreement. Using a high range estimate of $12 million over three years, the direct financial participation by DeKalb County represents only 0.7 percent of the tax fund budget in each of the three years. This would be recovered rapidly with only $3.2 million in new property values each year over the life of the lease.

Known for its business and education hub, growing international community and natural wonders, DeKalb County Government is administered by Interim Chief Executive Officer Lee May and legislative policy is set by a seven-member Board of Commissioners. DeKalb County is home to more than 700,000 residents.

Follow news from DeKalb County at @ItsInDeKalb on Twitter and sign up for additional updates at www.onedekalb.com or send a text message with the word ONEDEKALB to 22828 (message and data rates may apply). 

Follow Atlanta United at @atlutd on Twitter and atlutd on Instagram and Snapchat.  Learn more at www. atlutd.com.

(Courtesy Matt Haley / Manager of Football Communications / Atlanta Falcons)

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