The Braves swing for one tax break for stadium development, pass on another

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The Atlanta Braves are pursuing a lucrative tax break

on construction materials for the new ballpark in Cobb County. But the team will pass on other potential breaks for the mixed-use project that's taking shape next to the stadium.

Mike Plant, the team's business guru, outlined the franchise's tax-incentive strategy after Gov. Nathan Deal said he expected the attraction to be declared a project of "regional significance." That would make it eligible to nab a sales and use tax refund for a portion of the project's costs for up to 10 years.

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Plant said the team has "asked for nothing special" from the state or county for the $452 million "play-live-work" complex that will feature Comcast's regional headquarters.

"We do not ask, nor do we intend to ask, for any incentives for the mixed-use part," he said.

The stadium, though, is another story.

The team is still waiting on the state's response for its request for a sales tax break on the construction materials for the $622 million stadium, incentives that could be worth millions of dollars. Similar requests are pending from other big-name projects in Atlanta, including the downtown stadium being built for the Atlanta Falcons.

"It's something that's on the books that's already legislatively approved, and we're asking for it," said Plant. "We've asked for construction materials and nothing more. No special incentives, no abatements - we haven't requested any of those."

The tax breaks have come under fire from watchdog groups and other critics who question why corporate giants need help from the government for projects they could afford on their own. Plant argued that the construction incentives are a bargain for the state.

"We're pumping a lot of money into the system," said Plant, who estimates the state and county will generate at least $28 million in sales and property taxes in 2017 from land that now generates about $305,000 worth of taxes. "That's what our vision was all along. We are trying to create this destination, and the ballpark is a huge driver."

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