Georgia State University Finalizes Purchase of Turner Field, Announces Redevelopment Plan

by Katie Sloan

Atlanta — The Georgia State University Foundation has finalized its purchase of Turner Field and the surrounding 67 acres from the Atlanta-Fulton County Recreation Authority.

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed and Georgia State University president Mark Becker held a press conference this morning at Turner Field, current home of the Atlanta Braves and former site of the track and field events at the 1996 Summer Olympic Games.

Oakwood Development and Atlanta-based Carter & Associates were also participants in the purchase and sale agreement. The terms of the sale were not disclosed, but the Atlanta Journal Constitution reports the sales price as $30 million.

The Atlanta Fulton County Recreation Authority passed a resolution in December naming Georgia State and development partners as the preferred bidders for the project. The university has been working with Carter since 2014 following the Atlanta Braves announcement in late 2013 to develop SunTrust Park, the team’s new ballpark set to open in April 2017 in Cobb County. The Braves will not renew its 20-year lease at Turner Field following the 2016 season.

“The acquisition of the Turner Field site by Georgia State University requires Board of Regents approval, and we are working closely with the board on the important next steps of the process,” said Becker. “In concert with our partners at Carter, we are focused on pursuing a dynamic development plan that will bring new energy and vitality to this historically significant part of Atlanta.”

The Turner Field redevelopment is the cornerstone of the Turner Field Stadium Neighborhoods Liveable Center Inititaive (LCI). Altogether the plan comprises Turner Field and parts of five neighborhoods (Summerhill, Mechanicsville, Pittsburgh, Peoplestown and Grant Park) spanning 1,300 acres.

The five-year redevelopment plan for Turner Field includes a football stadium and baseball complex, as well as retail, office space, residential and student housing. According to Reed, the redevelopment will also include bike paths, an extension of the Atlanta Streetcar and a boulevard connecting the project to the Atlanta Zoo, which is undergoing a $41 million renovation and expansion.

“Turner Field may no longer be a baseball stadium, but it will still be a field of dreams,” said Reed at the press conference. “Today is about letting go of the parking lots that dominate the area now. It’s about reinventing the dense neighborhoods and walkable street grids this community had before the upheaval of stadiums and interstates more than 50 years ago.”

The project will also feature the statue of baseball legend and former Brave Hank Aaron, which will not be moved to SunTrust Park. The Atlanta-Fulton County Recreation Authority received input from roughly 1,600 residents before the close of the sale, according to Reed.

Georgia State University is a public university in downtown Atlanta that offers 250 undergraduate and graduate degree programs in more than 100 fields of study. The school’s current student body exceeds 53,000 students.

—   John Nelson

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