Georgia State could spend $48 million on Turner Field deal

Aerial of Turner Field on May 7, 2014.

Combined ShapeCaption
Aerial of Turner Field on May 7, 2014.

Georgia State University could spend $47.8 million to buy and renovate Turner Field and nearby properties, converting the baseball stadium into a new football stadium as part of a mixed-use development and extension of Georgia State's campus.

In total, the university portion of the project would cost $52.8 million, including $47.8 million from Georgia State's own accounts, $1.3 million from the school's athletic association and $3.8 million in private money.

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

Most of the money — $26 million — would go towards 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 would be bought or leased by Carter Development, one of the private real estate developers participating in the redevelopment project.

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

In August, the Atlanta Fulton County Recreation Authority, which owns Turner Field, reached a deal to sell the stadium to Georgia State and a development team for $30 million. The deal is expected to be complete by Dec. 31.

Georgia State and its development partners, led by the Atlanta firm Carter, have proposed a $300 million mix of housing, retail and classroom space, as well as the conversion of the stadium into a new home for Panthers football.

Scott Taylor, president of lead development partner Carter, said in August the development partners will fund their portion of the project 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, Georgia State president Mark Becker said in August.

Becker has previously said the university’s share of the project would be between $100 million and $150 million. At that time, Becker said no state funding, or an increase in student fees would be needed.

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

When Georgia State first expressed interest in buying The Ted two years ago, Becker discussed reducing the Ted’s seating to about 30,000 from its current capacity of about 50,000. That concept involved removing part or all of the upper deck and eventually building new seating in what is now right field.

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