After pushback from neighbors around Turner Field, one group hoping to buy the property when the Braves leave town has tossed out a radically different vision for the baseball stadium: a massive mix of residential and retail outlets in the vein of Ponce City Market. Georgia State University President Mark Becker tells the AJC that the school is ready to pounce on the property as soon as it's put up for sale, teaming with developer Carter for a planned $300 million reimagining of the site. Speaking to the paper on Saturday, Becker said: "We have the best idea anybody has put forward. We are the only ones who have engaged the surrounding neighborhoods." But in those contentious talks with neighbors, GSU and Carter brass have realized that not everyone wants to live next to students apartments, bookstores and a retrofitted stadium for the Panthers. Last month, about 60 peeved neighbors calling themselves the Turner Field Community Benefits Coalition marched into Mayor Kasim Reed's office, demanding a larger role in the stadium's redevelopment.
More specifically, as the Atlanta Business Chronicle reported, residents of Summerhill and other communities want the right to complete a Livable Centers Initiative (LCI) planning study and to field multiple proposals from developers. Problem is, LCI studies could take a year or more to complete, which could throw a wrench in the plans of Turner Field buyers hoping to ride the momentum of this commercial real estate cycle.
When the Braves announced last week that they plan to vacate The Ted by the end of 2016, it was music to the ears of Georgia State. Becker, the university's president, told the AJC he's confident the Atlanta-Fulton County Recreation Authority will make a decision on selling the property by the end of this year.
If a stadium overhaul a la Ponce City Market should move forward, the school would build a new GSU football stadium (30,000 seats, max) on the north end of the site, nearest downtown. That plan, as the AJC noted, "would put the football and baseball stadiums very close to Georgia State's campus and would put some of the retail and residential spots closer to the neighborhoods."
Becker said building a new sports stadium could be more costly than retrofitting Turner Field, but it just might save the university money in the long haul, versus the cost of operating and maintaining a big-league stadium like The Ted. All plans are extremely preliminary, of course, but GSU is eyeing a combination of fundraising cash, bonds and sponsorships to pay for it all.
If The Ted somehow manages a PCM-like transformation, there's no reason why the Chop House can't stay, right?
· Georgia State ready to move on Turner Field [AJC]
· Community demands bigger role in Turner Field redevelopment [Atlanta Business Chronicle]
· Turner Field Area In Pictures: Doomed Or Poised For Growth? [Curbed]