Turner Field (Courtesy Atlanta Braves)
Turner Field (Courtesy Atlanta Braves)

The City of Atlanta and Fulton County Recreation Authority have announced that a team made up of  Georgia State University and real estate developers Carter and Oakwood as the winning bidder to redevelop  Turner Field and approximately 70 acres of adjacent property.

“After a thorough review of all the proposals, including in person presentations, the Board of the City of Atlanta and Fulton County Recreation Authority has a preferred bidder and will commence negotiations immediately,” said William K Whitner, chair of the AFCRA board in a media statement. “We will move forward expeditiously to ensure that we make meaningful progress toward determining the future of this historic neighborhood. AFCRA has been a long-time partner in this community and we fully appreciate the importance of negotiating with a developer that will have the community’s interest foremost in mind.”

“The AFCRA Board has taken the next major step in ensuring that there is meaningful redevelopment and transformation of this area,” said Keisha Lance Bottoms, executive director of AFCRA. “Several details have yet to be mapped out, however, I, along with our Board Chair, will now lead negotiations to finalize an agreement. As we enter this phase, we will continue to work with the surrounding community and partners in the City and County to ensure that they continue to play a vital role in this process. Our most important objective is that the future redevelopment of this area is one that we can all be proud of. We believe that we have the right match for Turner Field and the surrounding communities.”

GSU and its development team plan to convert The Ted into a football stadium surrounded by a mix of student housing, apartments and retail shops. Bottoms said the GSU team was also selected because of its commitment to transform the property within five years of purchase. The Braves will depart Turner Field for its new home in Cobb County at the end of the 2016 season.

Residents who live in neighborhoods surrounding the stadium, which have formed the Turner Field Community Benefits Coalition (TFCBC) , have been pushing for the city and county to follow a Livable Centers Initiative study, which will give residents input into the process of redeveloping the site.

TFCBC said in a statement that it “hopes that all parties involved will be active participants in the Livable
Centers Initiative and that GSU will be an eager colleague in negotiating a Community Benefits Agreement with the community.”

The statement went on to say: “Because of their near permanence, universities can provide a long term, stabilizing influence on surrounding communities. But because of this permanence, the importance of “getting it right” is amplified. The development must be an urban campus considerate of its surrounding communities and integrated with them. Most importantly, in an area that has been decimated for decades by poor planning around stadiums, the game day experience of fans can not and must not override the needs of the adjacent communities.”

Mayor Kasim Reed said in a statement that the sale of Turner Field “is a significant step forward in the continued revitalization of the Summerhill, Peoplestown, Mechanicsville, Pittsburgh and Grant Park neighborhoods and strengthens Georgia State University’s position as one of the leading universities in the nation.”

 

Collin Kelley

Collin Kelley has been the editor of Atlanta Intown for two decades and has been a journalist and freelance writer for 35 years. He’s also an award-winning poet and novelist.