Breaking: Turner Field bidding process begins

The race to purchase Turner Field has officially begun.

The Atlanta Fulton County Recreation Authority formally began the bidding process for The Ted on Friday, releasing a long-awaited request for proposals that will guide redevelopment of the ballpark.

Among the objectives:

  • Renovating, reusing or re-purposing the stadium structure “as a key asset in the development program or provide an ‘iconic’ replacement structure;”
  • Creating a “dynamic mixed-use” destination;
  • Finishing development within five years of breaking ground;
  • Incorporating recommendations from the ARC’s community development study;
  • And incorporating Atlanta’s sports heritage, such as Hank Aaron’s home run records, the Braves World Series Championship and the 1996 Centennial Olympic Games.

The documents set out a competitive and sealed bid structure. The chosen developer will be the one determined to be best able “to create an economic anchor that drives demand for new development in the immediate area, generates new jobs and tax-paying activities while simultaneously facilitating the long-term integration of Atlanta’s Downtown business district and surrounding neighborhoods.”

The RFP documents set a submission deadline of Nov. 20 at 5 p.m. The redevelopment area contained in the RFP includes six parcels, including the ballpark, totaling 67 acres of land.

The Turner Field site is nearly 80 acres, but AFCRA executive director Keisha Lance Bottoms said the media lot, lots across the interstate and FanPlex are not included in the bid.

Just last week, Bottoms told residents in a packed community meeting last week that the property must be sold quickly as the Atlanta Braves are poised to vacate the ballfield by Dec. 31, 2016.

“I don’t stand here as an alarmist. I stand here as a realist. Time is of the essence,” Bottoms said during the Sept. 23 meeting at Turner Field. “This is a 48,000-seat stadium that in 15 months will be empty.”

Just what will become of the longtime home of the Atlanta Braves has been a hot topic for stadium communities since the team announced its departure in late 2013.

Georgia State University and real estate firm Carter have made the only public proposal: a $300 million mix of student housing, apartments, retail and the conversion of Turner Field into a football stadium. Mayor Kasim Reed has also said casino interests have inquired about the stadium site.

The move defies requests from many residents to delay the sale until the completion of a community study funded by the Atlanta Regional Commission, a process that could take through next summer. Officials have insisted the RFP will require the potential buyer to incorporate some of the study’s findings.

For more on the bid proposal, visit MYAJC.com.

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