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LEADOFF: How much of The Battery will be open for Braves opener?

Construction of the apartments and retail shops at The Battery Atlanta continues as the first game at SunTrust Park nears. (Steve Schaefer/Special to the AJC)
Construction of the apartments and retail shops at The Battery Atlanta continues as the first game at SunTrust Park nears. (Steve Schaefer/Special to the AJC)

Good morning. This is Leadoff, the early buzz in Atlanta sports.

The Braves plan to provide a lineup soon of the parts of the mixed-use development adjacent to SunTrust Park that will be open when the first regular-season game is played there on April 14.

But on a conference call with investment analysts Tuesday, Braves owner Liberty Media offered some insight into what to expect at The Battery Atlanta on the ballpark’s opening day.

“I expect The Battery will be operating in part,” Liberty Media CEO Greg Maffei said. “Not every retail site will be completely leased, but several and many will. And many other parts of the venue, commercial real estate, are well underway and leased.

“While The Battery will be partially open as a retail site, there are continuing efforts to expand that. That will be beyond the April 14th opening day for the stadium.”

Liberty’s chief financial officer, Mark Carleton, elaborated.

“We will have a number of the food and beverage and retail stores open at the end of March and in April,” Carleton said. “We have intentionally held back some of that space and on purpose not leased everything out to have some spot market opportunities for what we think is a good growth market.

“… But the Live Nation music venue will be open. We’ll have ample food and beverage and retail that will be open. I think they have managed the capacity and the leasing and the contracting quite thoughtfully.”

Two of the biggest and highest-profile parts of The Battery – a Comcast office building and an Omni hotel– are expected to open later this year and early next year, respectively.

The three apartment communities within The Battery are slated to open in April, May and July.

After the buildings currently under construction are completed, there are plans for future phases of the development, Carleton said.

“This will be an ongoing three-to-five-year kind of an organization to build it out,” he said.

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The Braves moved a significant step closer to getting a new spring-training home when the Sarasota County, Fla., board of commissioners Tuesday approved an agreement outlining key terms of a deal to build a $75.4 million complex.

Despite voicing concerns about some aspects of the deal, the commissioners in the southwest Florida county voted 4-1 to approve a 27-page term sheet/letter of intent previously accepted by the Braves.

A series of more definitive final contracts still must be negotiated and approved.

Even though provisions in the term sheet are meant to be binding, several commissioners raised issues that they want their negotiators to address in the final contracts. The negotiators will have leverage over the Braves, some commissioners suggested, because further votes of the same group are required before the facility is built.

ExploreSee full story here.

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Four days until Atlanta United opens its inaugural season.

ExploreDoug Roberson looks at what to expect from the team’s forwards.

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Falcons coach Dan Quinn discusses the teams's collapse in Super Bowl 51 at the NFL Scouting combine on Wednesday. Video by D. Orlando Ledbetter

Continuing to improve their pass rush is a high priority for the Falcons.

ExploreD. Orlando Ledbetter looks at the top 10 pass rushers available in the NFL draft.