A little more than three years after the Atlanta Braves announced their plan to relocate to Cobb County, and a few days after the team formally moved out of Turner Field, their old home has a new owner.
Georgia State University and a private development team officially closed Thursday on their $30 million purchase of the ballpark and surrounding parking lots, completing the long-simmering deal and marking a new era for The Ted and the neighborhoods around it.
Georgia State plans to play football in a stadium of their own for this first time this fall, and the school and developers Carter and Oakwood Development plan a mix of classroom space, student housing, apartments, retail as well as a Panthers baseball field in the footprint of the former Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium.
Over time, Turner Field will be remodeled to look more like a football stadium, and the developers have said the mixed-use development around The Ted, estimated at $300 million, will take shape over several years.
“The closing was a process that started before the holidays and ended just after New Year’s Day, achieving the result we have always sought, which is to facilitate the complete sale of Turner Field and its surrounding acreage by the end of the year,” Keisha Lance Bottoms, executive director of Atlanta Fulton County Recreation Authority, which managed Turner Field’s sale, said in a news release. “We have achieved our goal, saving Fulton and Atlanta taxpayers from mothballing or maintaining this massive facility, and put in place a development team that will spark new rounds of development and opportunities for the citizens of Summerhill, Mechanicsville and Peoplestown and all the citizens of Atlanta and Fulton County.”
The sale is a major milestone for the city and future downtown redevelopment, as well as one for Mayor Kasim Reed, who vowed after the Braves announced their departure in late 2013 to find a new owner and "create one of the largest developments for middle-class people that the city has ever had."
“When this chapter of Atlanta’s history is written, I believe the sale of Turner Field will be counted among the most consequential redevelopment efforts in the life of our city,” Reed said Thursday, citing future potential retail, infrastructure and transportation improvements.
The project will also be transformative for Georgia State, becoming a southern extension of the campus. Georgia State will control the football stadium and baseball field while the development groups Carter and Oakwood will control much of the surrounding parking lots.
Scott Taylor, president of development firm Carter, said the partners view Turner Field "as a once in a lifetime opportunity to help transform this historic part of our city for generations to come.”
“Our joint venture is committed to restoring elements to the original street grid, improving storm water management, creating jobs for local residents all while creating a mixed-use community which combines retail, office and residential in a vibrant, safe atmosphere," he said.
More as this story develops…