Name: Truist Park (Suntrust Park)
Location: Cumberland, Georgia
Opened: 14 April 2017
Architect: Populous (HOK Sport)
Cost: $622 Million
Capacity: 41,149 (original)
Surface: Seashore Paspalum, Platinum TE (natural grass)
If you've been following along with these ballpark profiles, you will by now be used to our affection for "true ballparks" and "authentic feeling", etc.
That is not what Truist Park is about, and that's . . . okay.
Like the new Globe Life Field in Arlington, Truist Park (which opened as Suntrust Park just a few years ago) is replacing a ballpark that was only 20 years old when it was replaced. There are people who would question why a team with a ballpark that is not old enough to drink would need a NEW ballpark. (We would be among those people.)
Turner Field, which Truist Park replaced, was originally built for the 1996 Olympic Games, and was designed to be converted into a baseball facility after the Olympics.
It was a fine-to-above-average ballpark, but the location was determined by the International Olympic Committee and Atlanta City Council as what would work best for the Olympics, and the location was ultimately not what the Braves wanted.
Rather than move the ballpark closer to downtown Atlanta, the Braves went the other way, moving to suburban Cumberland, home of the Cumberland Mall. (This is pretty fitting for what the Braves wanted out of their new ballpark.)
The concept for the new Braves ballpark became "The Battery Atlanta" -- a mixed-use entertainment district adjacent to the ballpark.
The Battery is anchored by a 16-story Omni hotel that overlooks the ballpark, a 9-story Comcast regional headquarters, and multiple restaurants and bars, all along a pedestrian mall connected to the ballpark.
Inside, Truist Park is everything a new ballpark should be: lots of tiered seating levels, good sightlines, and outstanding concessions.
The "Mallpark" -- for that is what this is, unapologetically so -- offers fans a wealth of entertainment in addition to (instead of?) the ballgame, and thousands of people seem to flock to the Battery Atlanta during games with no real expectation or interest in going inside the ballpark, sitting down, and watching the game.
Which is apparently fine with the Braves. This is a multi-media, multi-venue entertainment experience, not just a ballgame. Fans seem to love it. And the Braves and their partners, making money both inside the park and from the surrounding activities, seem good with it, too. This may well be the future of sporting events.
For the fans who come to see the game, they have a brand new, state-of-the-art ballpark that checks all the boxes. It has a faux-retro-style (red brick and exposed steelwork) without any real point of reference. As we've said before, that look worked perfectly in Baltimore and Denver because that was the surrounding architectural style. This park was plopped down in the parking lot of a megamall, and that's exactly what it looks like.
But in a good way.
For all of that, Suntrust/Truist Park is exactly what it was designed to be. And it works.