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Soccer fuels redevelopment in Marietta, city to spend millions

Following the grand opening of Atlanta United’s state-of-the-art training complex in Marietta, the city is preparing to spend another $5.8 million to redevelop the surrounding area. 

The Marietta City Council approved the purchase of a seven-acre shopping center at the corner of Franklin Gateway and South Marietta Parkway, which it plans to demolish.

Atlanta United, the major league soccer club owned by Arthur Blank, is constructing a $60 million training complex on Franklin Gateway in Marietta.

William Perry, founder of Georgia Ethics Watchdogs, questioned the city’s decision not to seek an independent appraisal on the property value, even though it is not required by law. 

“They agreed to the deal for the soccer facility without any sort of economic impact study or anything other than the assumption it would spur development and bring economic opportunities to the area,” he added.

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Mayor Steve Tumlin scoffed at concerns over the fiscal wisdom of the soccer deal.  

“If they ride down there and say that’s not working, then they’re laughable,” he said.

Carlos Vazquez has been running his family’s supermarket, Mercado Real De La Villa, located in the shopping center for more than 10 years.  

He said he has mixed feelings about the redevelopment. He’s pleased that crime is down and the new and renovated apartments are nicer, but the Hispanic population on which the supermarket depends is shrinking as the neighborhood gentrifies.  

“I’m always welcoming change — it’s inevitable,” he said. “It feels like it’s going to hurt us, but it might just be for the better.”

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