Atlanta Business Chronicle | First Look at Turner Field's Future

Days after buying Turner Field, Atlanta real estate company Carter and Georgia State University have released new images of the project, along with their vision for the sweeping redevelopment.

The 68-acre site includes Turner Field — where the Atlanta Braves played until last fall — and surrounding properties along Hank Aaron Drive and Georgia Avenue, where the majority of the project will be focused.

Georgia State intends to transform the area into a sports complex.

It wants to have Turner Field renovated in time for its 2017 football season. The first phase of that work begins next month. More extensive renovations could take another two years.

GSU will also redevelop the site of the old Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium, where the school will put its baseball field. That could happen in about two years, pending state approval.

Over time, GSU president Mark Becker also wants to see acres and acres of parking turned into a mixed-use environment.

“The future of this area is not going to be massive parking lots,” Becker said.Carter, along with Oakwood Development and Healey Weatherholtz Properties, is focused on remaking Hank Aaron Drive and Georgi

a Avenue into boulevards lined with new projects, including street-level retail.

The hope is one day that light rail would extend down Hank Aaron Drive from downtown, and plans show proposed transit stops at the intersection of Fulton Street and Hank Aaron Drive, along with near Turner Field.

The first step for Carter: a new 850-bed student housing project just north of Turner Field. Carter wants to break ground by the end of the year.

It also plans a 200-unit apartment building along Hank Aaron Drive, with 10 percent of those units dedicated to workforce housing.
Carter and its team will likely close next week on an additional seven aging retail buildings along Georgia Avenue, which it plans to fill with local businesses such as restaurants and a coffee shop.

Carter President Scott Taylor said those buildings offer an authenticity retailers are looking for. He hopes to find tenants that speak to “the soul and spirit of Summerhill,” referring to the neighborhood where Turner Field was built.

Carter’s guide in planning the redevelopment has been the Turner Field Livable Centers Initiative (LCI), which would transform 1,700 acres and five neighborhoods surrounding Turner Field with new student housing, parks and transit. Taking place over the next decade, it could end up as one of the city’s largest-ever urban renewal projects.

“We want to be very respectful to the LCI process,” Taylor said. “None of our plans exactly reflect (the LCI), but they are components — greenspace, paying homage to the history of the site, retail, street-grids, sustainable development.”

There’s also a wildcard — landing a major employer that wants to put its office space along Hank Aaron Drive. That hope foreshadows just how stark the transformation of the area, including neighborhoods, might be.

“Were it the case that a Fortune 100 company comes to Carter and says we need a million square feet of office … then we’ll just have to see how the corporate interests in these sites plays out,” Becker said.


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By Amy Wenk and Maria Saporta - Atlanta Business Chronicle

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