Georgia State ready to move on Turner Field

Georgia State President Mark Becker said the university is ready to move on the Turner Field property if it is put up for sale.

The Braves announced earlier this week that they will be out of the stadium by the end of 2016. That decision was what all the parties interested in the stadium and surrounding properties were waiting for. Now, Becker said they will wait on the Atlanta-Fulton County Recreation Authority to decide if the 77-acre property will be put up for sale. Becker believes their decision will happen before the end of the year.

“We are optimistic, hopeful that we have a real shot at it,” Becker said Saturday. “We have the best idea anybody has put forward. We are the only ones who have engaged the surrounding neighborhoods.”

Georgia State and its partners Carter were the first to announce their interest in the Turner Field property in May 2014. In their $300 million plan, Turner Field would possibly be retrofitted into a football stadium for the Panthers. A college baseball stadium would be built on the site of the since-demolished Fulton County Stadium, and residential and retail outlets would also be constructed.

Becker said that another option is now being considered, one that was partially inspired by conversations with residents of the neighborhoods near Turner Field.

Instead of turning Turner Field into the home of another sports team, it could be turned into a large residential and retail outlet, similar to what was done at Ponce City Market.

A new 25,000-30,000 seat stadium would be constructed in the north end of the property to house Georgia State’s football team.

That plan 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 the full cost-benefit analyses wouldn’t be done until Georgia State can purchase the property. He said retro-fitting Turner Field would likely be cheaper than building a new stadium. However, the long-term operating costs of maintaining such a large building would likely be greater.

Becker said should Georgia State purchase the property it would be paid for through a combination of fund-raising, bonds and sponsorships. He said there is still much work to do.

“We will use all tools available to make this work,” he said.

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