The Atlanta Journal-Constitution | Turner Field gets one step closer to Ga. State sale

Georgia State and its partners came a step closer to purchasing Turner Field Thursday.

The group negotiating on behalf of its owners, the City of Atlanta and Fulton County Recreation Authority, passed a resolution authorizing the sale of Turner Field.

The vote gives the Rec Authority approval to enter into a final purchase and sale agreement with Panther Holdings, a group that includes Georgia State and the developers Carter and Oakwood.

Georgia State and its partners must still sign the contract, and the negotiations are not finished. But the resolution is a step forward for the deal, which would allow for the construction of a planned $300 million mixed-use development on the property.

“I’m excited about it and happy with the framework we’re here at the table with,” said Fulton County Commissioner Bob Ellis, a member of the Rec Authority. “The development they’re looking to do is beneficial to the county, the city and definitely around that area.”

The resolution includes provisions for the buyer to manage the property beginning Jan. 1, even if the sale is is not closed before then. It also guarantees that workforce housing will be part of any residential plan and that at least 70 percent of the developable property will be taxable. The total property is 70 acres.

Additionally, the resolution calls for the construction to use small, minority-owned and female-owned businesses, and for the buyer to work with the neighborhood on a study to create a livable center.

Sherise Brown, a Peoplestown resident who has lived near the stadium since 1992, said she hopes the agreement addresses needed infrastructure improvements to reduce flooding in the area, and the need for low-income housing. Local residents have long been passed over when it comes to area development, she said. While she is in favor of the project, she said there is more that can be done for the community.

“We just don’t want to be left out again,” she said. “We’ve been bamboozled so many times.”

Ellis said he thinks the developers will be “a good partner” to the surrounding neighborhoods.

“I’m really excited about it,” he said. “I think it’s going to be great.”

The plan for the property includes the development of retail, restaurants, student housing, single-family residences and office space, and the conversion of Turner Field into a Panthers football stadium. A spokesperson for Georgia State said the school would have no comment because the transaction was not complete. Scott Taylor, the president of Carter, said his firm is making “good progress” on the deal. It is slated to close before the end of the year.

The property still must be rezoned. A hearing is scheduled for July. The buyers will also have a chance to fully inspect the property.

Keisha Lance Bottoms, the executive director of the Rec Authority and a member of the Atlanta City Council, said she couldn’t say much before the agreement was finalized. But she said the resolution is a “huge step.”

“We’re getting towards the end,” she said.

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By Arielle Kass, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

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