Georgia State could spend $53M on Turner Field project

Georgia State University wants to spend $52.8 million, mostly from proceeds from its bookstore, parking operations, housing and other sources, to buy and renovate Turner Field and nearby properties.

The downtown university and a private development team led by Atlanta-based Carter came to terms in August to buy Turner Field for $30 million by the end of the year. The partners have proposed a $300 million development that includes turning The Ted into a new home for Panther football and developing the rest of the property.

Georgia State, which heavily subsidizes athletics through fees that come on top of tuition, wants to spend $47.8 million of proceeds from various university operations on the project, according to documents from the state Board of Regents. About $1.3 million will come from the school’s athletic association and $3.8 million in private money.

Student fees would not be added or raised to pay for the project, Board of Regents spokesperson Charlie Sutlive said.

The Board of Regents is set to vote on key pieces of the deal Wednesday.

Most of the money — $26 million — would go toward stadium renovations to remake Turner Field into a 22,000-seat stadium, according to Board of Regents records. That work, which would take place in two phases, would include a new field, covering upper deck seating, reorienting lower bowl seating and upgrading locker rooms and other areas.

Another $22.8 million would be used to purchase the stadium and surrounding parking lots.

The balance of the land slated to become part of the development that would include student and private housing, classrooms and retail space that would be bought or leased by Carter, one of the private partners.

Another $4 million would be used to renovate space at the stadium for Georgia State’s hospitality school, which would relocate to the stadium. Georgia State also plans to hold events including convocations and commencements at the stadium. Any money remaining from that $4 million would be used to renovate office space for the school’s athletics department.

Scott Taylor, president of Carter, said in August the partners will fund their portion through their own equity, investor dollars and financing from major financial firms. About 70 percent of the development value will go on the tax rolls.

Until now, Georgia State’s financing plans have been less clear.

The school’s foundation is purchasing its share of the land. The university’s plan to buy the land from the foundation requires approval from the state Board of Regents, Becker said in August.

Becker has previously said the university’s share of the project would be between $100 million and $150 million. Board of Regents policy bars schools from using state appropriations to support intercollegiate athletics.

Georgia State has expressed a desire to begin playing football in the stadium next season.

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