Stadium land closing date is changed

LAWRENCEVILLE - Officials made a minor move Tuesday to clear up the purchase of 12 acres for a minor league baseball stadium.

While commissioners approved in January the purchase of 12 acres on Buford Drive between Rock Springs and Old Peachtree roads, officials missed the mid-March deadline for closing on the sale, County Attorney Karen Thomas said.

The paperwork was wrapped up by the end of March, but Thomas said commissioners needed to ratify the changed date Tuesday.

"It was such a complicated acquisition with the timing of the bonds," Thomas said of missing the deadline. "It's done."

Commissioners agreed to buy the land from Brand Partners, owned by Brand Morgan, for $5 million in recreation funds. They pledged another $7 million to the project, with another $33 million for construction coming from the selling of revenue bonds.

Preston Williams, who is spearheading the stadium project for the Gwinnett Convention and Visitors Bureau, said the missed deadline won't have an impact on the scheduled April 2009 opening day for the Triple-A Gwinnett Braves. He said grading should begin on the project in the next two weeks and a ground breaking is being planned for May.

"It was not a material effect on the schedule and the construction," Williams said of the delayed closing date.