When the Braves announced their departure for Cobb County a few years back, Atlantans naturally wondered what would become of Turner Field and the surrounding parking lots.
Developers were asked to submit proposals for redevelopment of the area, and by the end of 2015, the city had received submissions from three groups: Georgia State University (in partnership with Carter), Mercury Youth Organization, and a mysterious head-scratcher called “RitaWorld Pearl Kingdom.”
As we all know, Georgia State and Carter were selected and now are working through plans to bring a mixed-use community to the area, anchored by Turner Field, refashioned as a football stadium. But what of that third, nebulous proposal?
Thomas Wheatley, in one of his first pieces with Atlanta magazine, uncovered the ambitious, outlandish plans for RitaWorld Pearl Kingdom.
The gist of the proposal, dreamed up by Okey Isima Jr., is described by Wheatley as “one part Sim City, one part Dubai, and one part Robert Moses.” Envisioned as a mini-city with as many as 10,000 housing units, RitaWorld would have sat in and around what is characterized as the world’s largest lagoon.
To create the lagoon, Isima proposed flooding the majority of Peoplestown, Summerhill, and even part of Grant Park, with imported ocean water. The cost of the paradise, including eight districts linked by cypress-lined boulevards, was estimated at $7.5 billion.
Renderings released with the proposal look as though they were created in Microsoft Paint. So if the scale of the plans wasn’t farfetched enough, the ability of the group to accomplish such a project might (rightfully) be called into question.
Isima, the magazine reports, is still optimistic the project can be constructed somewhere else in Atlanta.
- Meet RitaWorld, the lagoon-and-skyscraper vision for Turner Field that could have been [Atlanta magazine]
- Cue Speculation! Turner Field Sought by Mystery Bidders [Curbed Atlanta]