June 26, 2017
This story originally appeared in the Spring, 2017 issue of Buzz magazine. Read the entire issue online or subscribe to the magazine here.
By Adam Van Brimmer
– Mark Teixeira’s Atlanta homecoming was brief. Parts of two seasons with the Atlanta Braves, little more than a layover between the franchise that drafted him out of Georgia Tech, the Texas Rangers, and the franchise that would pay him $180 million over the last eight years of his baseball playing career, the New York Yankees.
His work on the diamond led him to the Bronx. His pursuits away from the field, meanwhile, set him up for another future homecoming.
During his time with the Braves, Teixeira joined a group of investors and real estate developers interested in a blighted urban corridor west of Georgia Tech’s campus in midtown. The City of Atlanta was developing plans to develop the closed Bellwood Quarry and surrounding land into a large greenspace, a project now known as Westside Reservoir Park, which would be part of the Atlanta Beltline.
Teixeira’s group saw the potential to make the area near the park–which has the added advantage of being home to the Bankhead MARTA station–a highly sought-after place for professionals to live and businesses to locate. They initially bought parcels between the MARTA station and the quarry property then began to invest farther west along Hollowell Parkway, in the Bankhead, Grove Park and Center Hill neighborhoods, all the way to the Atlanta Perimeter.
“The beautiful thing for me was I was still playing baseball, so I could take the long view,” Teixeira said. “The way I figured it, the area was a diamond in the rough, the next place in Atlanta for people to go as the Beltline became more and more a reality. That it was a community right next door to Georgia Tech that needed to turn around, that needed jobs and activity, made it all the better.”
Developers will break ground on the first project involving Teixeira’s property this fall. The Beltline is currently carving a spur through the parcel. Once that’s done, a mix of condominiums, apartments, townhouses and commercial storefronts will gradually emerge on the site, with an expected opening in the fall of 2019. Single-family homes and multi-family development will follow.
Teixeira foresees a “city within a city” as seen elsewhere in Atlanta, such as Atlantic Station or the area around Ponce City Market.
“Except it will be on the park, on the Marta, and on the Beltline,” Teixeira said. “It’s going to be unlike anything Atlanta has seen before.”
The project has created another new interest for Teixeira: ecology. He’s helped found a nonprofit group bent on cleaning up Proctor Creek, a polluted waterway that runs through an area near Teixeira’s project on its way to the Chattahoochee River, a major source of drinking water.
“Part of real estate investing is looking at all the public assets in and near your properties,” Teixeira said. “Proctor Creek is a complete untapped resource. By cleaning it up, we bring an amenity back to the community, and we help clean up our drinking water.”
As if building the next big place to be and saving a creek weren’t enough for an independently wealthy 37-year-old, Teixeira is also working as a baseball analyst for ESPN. He considers that work preparation for yet one more homecoming: this time to baseball.
STAYING CLOSE TO THE GAME
Teixeira doesn’t miss baseball. Not yet anyway. He and his wife have three school-age children, and after years of living the baseball life–more than half of his nights away from home between February and October each year–he’s enjoying his dad time.
He is staying connected to the game through part-time analyst work with ESPN. Teixeira lives in Greenwich, Conn., a 90-minute drive from ESPN headquarters in Bristol. Teixeira sees his one or two days a week in the studio as a way to “stay close to the game and be around people who enjoy the game.”
His college coach, Danny Hall, is not surprised to see Teixeira making such a smooth transition from one part of his life to the next.
“Even in college, where he was literally the best player out there, baseball was what he played and what he did but not who he was,” Hall said. “He’s the type who knows where he wants to go, and more importantly, how to get there.”
“There” ultimately is in baseball management, Teixeira acknowledges. He was a business major at Georgia Tech and the rare student-athlete who was both an All-American and an Academic All-American. Hall foresees Teixeira “running a team” in a front-office capacity, and Teixeira admits he’s been approached about scouting and talent evaluation roles already.
But just like in real estate, Teixeira takes the long view on baseball. He will stay involved on the broadcasting side and evaluate management opportunities as they come along. He’s both patient and content, an approach he similarly applies to his goal of one day completing his Georgia Tech degree.
“I probably won’t do that until my kids get out of the house, and my youngest is six years old,” he said. “Maybe we could go to school together, like Rodney Dangerfield in that movie.”
The film, “Back to School,” featured Dangerfield as a self-made entrepreneur. Teixeira, in both baseball and soon in real estate, can certainly relate.