Emory Sports Medicine, mall operators are in

Craig Delasin, CEO of Urban Retail Properties LLC, and Vaughn Irons, CEO of Atlanta-based APD Solutions, hold rendering of Atlanta Sports City project planned for Stonecrest. Developers are also buying the former Kohl’s building (above).

Emory Sports Medicine and Urban Retail Properties LLC, operators of the Mall at Stonecrest, will invest $55 million to $60 million in the Atlanta Sports City project coming to the city of Stonecrest.

Vaughn Irons, Atlanta Sports City project developer, also said they are acquiring the former two-story Kohl’s department store space at the Mall at Stonecrest that has been vacant since November 2016.

Vaughn Irons

Vaughn Irons

In the short term, Irons said the top floor of the 164,000-square-foot building will be used for temporary office space for ASC while the project is being constructed.

Urban Retail Properties will invest $45 million to $50 million to create a new gateway entrance and 250,000 square feet of new retail and restaurant space for the mall fronting onto Atlanta Sports City on Mall Parkway. The 1.3 million-square-foot mall’s current grand entry fronts toward Turner Hill Road.

Ground breaking for Atlanta Sports City is set for the end of third quarter. Emory will begin offering services from Kohl’s building in the fall and the indoor sports medicine pavilion will begin in the fall of 2018.

Emory Sports Medicine, which will be leasing space with Atlanta Sports City, says it is committing more than $10 million to locating an Emory Sports Medicine Center, Emory’s Eastern Metro Regional Offices, and Emory Physical Therapy at Stonecrest.

Irons, CEO of Atlanta-based APD Solutions, said the announcements, made May 17 at Decide DeKalb’s Tucker offices, are the first signs of Stonecrest and southeast DeKalb becoming a major employment center.

He told the audience of media, Stonecrest elected officials, business, sports and community leaders that they will remember where they were “when this divergence from our past history happened and occurred.”

“Six months ago, many people would say Atlanta Sports City could not have happened,” said Irons, a Stonecrest resident. “This is what sports and recreation can do in order to help the community grow.”

Atlanta Sports Connections, which is developing the proposed Atlanta Sports City, unveiled it on Feb. 22. It says the project will bring more than $200 million in economic impact to the newly created city of Stonecrest.

Patrick Henderson, Atlanta Sports Connections CEO, said momentum has been building since the project’s unveiling three months ago.

“The people we have aligned ourselves with over the last couple months and the last couple years, you will be amazed at the quality of service everybody brings to the table,” Henderson said.

Zeric Foster, his business partner and Atlanta Sports Connections chief operating officer, said they are very excited about the progress being made toward the promises made at the unveiling.

“We are on track with those promises,” Foster said.

Multi-specialty Emory Health Park

Dr. Scott Boden, chief medical officer of Emory Orthopaedics & Spine Center, said their partnership with Atlanta Sports Connections “re-imagines what true integration looks like” between a sports competition development and a major academic sports medicine program.

Dr. Scott Bolden

Dr. Scott Bolden

He said that what started as a partnership to serve athletes and their families visiting Atlanta Sports City, to help provide the absolute best environment for comprehensive player development, and to be a beacon of sports science and research has blossomed into a multi-specialty Emory Health Park to service Stonecrest and the eastern metro area.

“Today marks a significant first step in turning that vision into a reality and I could not be more excited,” he said. “This partnership will establish an unmatched level of on-site integration of multi-sport athletic competition and training with sports medicine and rehabilitation.”

Boden said the Emory Sports Medicine Center will anchor a 10,000-square-foot Sports Medicine Pavilion inside the Atlanta Sports City’s main field house.

Emory’s Eastern Metro Regional Office will anchor a multi-specialty Health Park within ASC’s retail section. It will be located near Mall Parkway and Klondike Road.

Emory Physical Therapy also will co-locate in the area.

As announced, the Emory Sports Medicine Center will:

+ Include high-quality equipment, including MRI, which Boden said is “a unique feature” for a competition venue of this kind.

+ Help Emory’s 14 sports medicine physicians, many athletic programs and more than 20 high schools.

+ Emory Physical Therapy, which will co-locate at the center, will offer what Boden called “the best in recovery and rehabilitative services” for athletes. He said that its certified athletic trainers will staff the training room and cover all ASC-organized sports competitions and tournaments to ensure a high level of safety for athletes.

+ Emory will develop a youth injury risk assessment, surveillance, and prevention program to improve the safety of athletic competition for school-aged athletes.

+ It also will make its Peak Performance Project, known as P3 – an athlete performance measurement and enhancement – available to ASC players.

+ The Emory Eastern Metro Regional Office will house primary care, cardiology, GI and multiple other specialty doctors. Boden said they expect additional providers to co-locate including chiropractic, acupuncture and others.

Emory Sports Medicine Center, whose slogan is “Go Where the Players Go,” already has locations in Brookhaven, Johns Creek, Dunwoody, Smyrna and Stockbridge.

Its doctors treat Olympic-elite athletes, professionals, youth competitors, and “weekend warriors” – men and women who work out on the weekend to meet their fitness goals.

Boden said the Emory/ASC partnership will enrich the Stonecrest and surrounding communities by providing more convenient access to Emory Healthcare for both routine medical issues and more complex problems.

In his 25 years at Emory, Boden said he has never been more excited.

“Emory will do everything we possibly can to ensure this a wildly successful project,” he said.

Introducing complex to retailers

Craig Delasin, CEO of Chicago-based Urban Retail Properties, said that the moment he learned of the Atlanta Sports City complex, he wanted to align with it.

Craig Delasin

Craig Delasin

“We took one look at the site plan and said, ‘Wow,’” he said. “We immediately saw that we needed to be good neighbors.”

He said his company will be offering development, leasing and management services with particular focus for the retail and for the overall complex as well.

Considering the investments the partners have made and are making, Delasin said it was a no-brainer to want to get on board with that.

“It is critical that we are in alignment, from a security standpoint, from a maintenance standpoint, from a traffic flow, from parking and so on,” he said, adding that it was just a matter of figuring out how they can make a seamless transition between the mall and the sports complex.

“And then provide those extra services, beverage, entertainment, sports-related retail that would be lacking,” he said. “Retail is real simple. It’s foot traffic, and having the kind of generator that can create this type of foot traffic for the mall is a game-changer.”

This weekend, Delasin will lead a team of 20 Atlanta Sports City personnel and other stakeholders to the May 21-24 International Council of Shopping Centers 2017 RECON annual convention in Las Vegas, which attracts more than 70,000 retail and real estate professionals.

“We will be introducing the complex to all of the retailers and begin to put together that list of new tenants we will be bringing to the market,” Delasin said.

Irons said they have 77 meetings scheduled with retailers and restaurant operators to promote the project.

“To promote this project, we will have a booth that’s all about Atlanta Sports City and Stonecrest,” Irons said.

Workshops for local businesses

Trish Edge, the Mall at Stonecrest general manager, said she is thrilled to be part of a first-class sports and retail complex.

Trish Edge

Trish Edge

“The synergy that will be created will be a tremendous boost, not only to the Mall at Stonecrest but to the whole Stonecrest area in general,” she said.

Edge, a self-described “proud soccer mom,” said she has been traveling great distances with her two daughters who play soccer and is excited that their teams will soon be able to play in their own back yards and be 10 minutes from home.

“How awesome is that,” she said.

For local businesses interested in partnering with Atlanta Sports City, Irons said that a series of meetings and workshops will be held toward the end of May for subcontractors, suppliers and vendors, including food and beverage entrepreneurs. He said ASC will work with the DeKalb

Chamber of Commerce, Decide DeKalb, and the city of Stonecrest to host the workshops so that people who want to can know how to plug in the opportunities.

Jason Lary, Stonecrest mayor, said he couldn’t be more proud of the way the project is shaping up.

Jason Lary

Jason Lary

He reminded the audience that Stonecrest was created for economic development.

“We are fast, we are agile and we can block,” he said. “And if you are in the way, we are coming through.”

Answering a question from Courtney McFarlane of the Caribbean Advancement Foundation about whether there is place for cricket in Atlanta Sports City, Foster said that they are designing the complex for up to 40 sports.

He said they will use turf on 75 percent of their baseball diamonds instead of grass to give them flexibility to play more than one sport on the same field.

“Every field, every building is being designed for multiple uses,” Foster said.

The partners said they will be hiring within the community and will look to bring high-paying jobs to the area, that they are open to training and rehabilitating international athletes.

“We are not just a place to play soccer, baseball,” Foster said. “We are a place for you to come with your ideas.”