ATLANTA -- The Cobb County Commission approved a Memorandum of Understanding with the Atlanta Braves at its meeting Tuesday night, paving the way for a new stadium to open with the first pitch of the 2017 baseball season.

"This is a significant day in the history of this franchise," said Atlanta Braves President John Schuerholz. "We are grateful to the citizens of Cobb County and the leadership in the community who have worked tirelessly to bring this to fruition. I truly believe that this partnership will yield what will become one of the finest baseball and entertainment facilities in the country."

In addition to the stadium, the Braves, and other private partners, will privately fund 100 percent of a signature mixed-use development that will encompass the facility. The first phase of the development will total between 700,000 and 1 million square feet of retail, restaurant, residential, hotel and office space.

The estimated cost of the stadium, parking and related infrastructure is roughly $672 million. The Braves will invest approximately $372 million, in both upfront costs and yearly payments, into the facility. The Braves organization will serve as the design and construction manager for the project and will be responsible for any cost overruns. They will also be responsible for all operating expenses of the stadium, while the Braves and the County will be jointly responsible for all capital maintenance expenses of the Stadium. The stadium will be owned by the Cobb-Marietta Coliseum and Exhibit Hall Authority, which also owns the Cobb Galleria Centre and Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre.

The stadium and development will have an Atlanta address and will provide easy access to I-75, I-285, U.S. 41/Cobb Parkway and a variety of other transportation options. During construction of the stadium, more than 5,227 jobs will be supported, with a total payroll of more than $235 million. Annual earnings for the more than 3,000 employees needed to staff the Braves organization in the new facility will total $35.8 million.

Construction on the new stadium is scheduled to start in the second half of 2014 and will be completed by Opening Day 2017. The Braves' lease at Turner Field, which is owned by the City of Atlanta, Fulton County and the Atlanta-Fulton County Recreation Authority, ends at the conclusion of 2016.

For more information, visit www.HomeoftheBraves.com