It seems hard to believe, but Turner Field will be vacant in a little more than a year. And development of the The Ted site looks like it might already be moving into its first phase, though not everyone is happy about it. The Atlanta Fulton County Recreation Authority, which owns the 48,000-seat stadium, gave CBRE the go-ahead to start taking bids for the site, starting this month. However, nearby residents want the process delayed until a Livable Centers Initiative study is completed, with updated recommendations for use of the site. In short, nobody seems in total agreement about what should happen next. So this calls for a good old-fashioned online poll.
Residents want the LCI to be a core part of any bid for redevelopment, but city officials are worried about the potential economic drawbacks of waiting to start the bid process. Keisha Lance Bottoms, executive director of the AFCRA, told WABE that management of the site once the Atlanta Braves workers leave will be very complicated. Beyond that, Mayor Kasim Reed warned residents the city could lose tens of millions of dollars if the real estate market tanks — or, say, a meteor destroys the field.
Reed also told residents, soon after the Braves announced their move, that the site could be one of Atlanta's biggest middle-class developments, and, more recently, that the AFCRA would hold off on the bidding process until the community study is complete. But, it seems, new and renewed interest in the site from casino magnates, Georgia State University and folks who've proposed a cash-driven pony show may have turned some heads.
Bottoms and Reed have said the community study, which has a projected completion date of July 2016, can happen in tandem with the bidding process (since the Braves don't actually leave until December next year). Community members remain understandably skeptical. After all, many Atlantans have seen this play out two, three (or more) times.
Now, it's time to vote.
With bidding soon to start on the current home of the "not quite last place" Atlanta Braves, everyone in and around the city has an opinion on the future of Turner Field and its surrounding neighborhood. With public proposals ranging from a horse track, to The Las Vegas of the Southeast back around to (God forbid) university housing, the options could be plentiful and varied. We took the liberty of throwing out a few, um, creative alternate proposals, in case any voters are just plain undecided: