Bond filing details funding for the Atlanta Braves spring training complex in Sarasota County
A $13.95 million bond issue will go to market this week to partially fund the Atlanta Braves spring training facility in North Port. The bonds, issued by the West Villages Improvement District, are the first of two planned debt offerings by the district to pay for the $99.7 million project, according to a Dec. 5 preliminary bond document. The document also details how the Braves and local governments will split the cost.
While public funding for professional sports stadiums is increasingly unpopular, a study in June showed the Braves' spring training facilities would have a $1.7 billion economic impact on the surrounding area over the 30-year term of its lease. Some critics say economic studies are overblown because they assume those dollars wouldn’t have been spent on other local events and venues.
The first bond issue from West Villages Improvement District will sell this week, a Dec. 7 report from Moody’s Investors Services said. Moody's rated the bonds Aa2, a high investment grade rating. A dedicated sales tax revenue pledge from the state of Florida backs the bonds, and “the strength of the pledged revenue stream is balanced against relatively weak legal provisions, including a lack of a debt service reserve fund,” Moody’s said.