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DeKalb Commission Approves $30M Soccer Complex

A fan holds a scarf during a party at which Atlanta United FC was announced as the name of an MLS soccer expansion team, Tuesday, July 7, 2015, in Atlanta. The team is scheduled to begin to play in 2017 at the city's new retractable-roof stadium. (AP Photo/Branden Camp)
A fan holds a scarf during a party at which Atlanta United FC was announced as the name of an MLS soccer expansion team, Tuesday, July 7, 2015, in Atlanta. The team is scheduled to begin to play in 2017 at the city's new retractable-roof stadium. (AP Photo/Branden Camp)
Credit Branden Camp / AP Photo

Editor’s note: This story has been updated at 12:33 p.m. 

The DeKalb County Commission voted 4-3 Tuesday morning in favor of leasing county land for a $30 million training complex for Atlanta’s future major league soccer team. The practice site for Atlanta United FC would be built behind the county’s jail near Memorial Drive and I-285.

Under the deal, team owner Arthur Blank would build a small outdoor stadium, several practice fields and Atlanta United’s corporate headquarters.

The county would lease the team 41 acres of land, pay up to $5 million to prepare it and another $7 million for the county’s use of the complex.

Commissioner Kathie Gannon said she thinks it’s a bad deal for the county.

“We don’t get very much in return. They get 41 acres of land, tax free,” Gannon said.

She also said the project is being pushed through too quickly without the input of residents. Gannon and Commissioner Jeff Rader have written a letter to Blank asking him to put the $7 million the county will pay the team into his foundation to help improve the Memorial Drive Corridor, help residents in Central DeKalb and expand economic growth.

Supporters say the complex will serve as a catalyst for new development in the area, bring in more than 100 jobs and millions of dollars of investment into Central DeKalb.

Atlanta United is expected to start playing games in 2017 in a stadium the team will share with the Atlanta Falcons.