OPINION: The rest of the story: Bravexit from Atlanta works out just fine

It turns out the Braves fleeing Atlanta was the best thing to happen to the Summerhill neighborhood.

Sure, Cobb County harpooned a whale of a project, snagging the Braves (perhaps it was the other way around, what with $300 million-plus in taxpayer money needed to lure them). But with a World Series title in tow, the debates about corporate socialism have dissipated. And you can now devour artisanal pizza and quaff a craft beer at the Braves’ new playground, The Battery.

Back on Georgia Avenue, the ghost town that once adjoined Turner Field is alive. You can sip an espresso, lick locally sourced ice cream and down smoked prime brisket. The hated cliché “win-win” was used to describe the development in Cobb and in the area they left behind. But a twin victory connected with any Atlanta sports team is a headline.

The Atlanta firm Carter has headed up the area’s redevelopment, working with Georgia State University, which now fields a football team in the old Turner Field and has built 700 student apartments.

Carter’s new office is in a Georgia Avenue building once owned by John Elder, and the street is now filled with people and stores with their doors open and lights on.

David Nelson, a Carter exec, said almost 900 apartments are being built, meaning that 1,500 to 2,000 people will be walking the streets, breathing more life into the community. That’s not to mention the blocks of swanky townhomes going up.

“When we came, we asked, ‘From a retail perspective, what was needed?’ People said, ‘Well, everything,’” Nelson said. He said the entire footprint is about 83 acres, plus another 10 acres that is privately owned. In all, there’s been $780 million invested.

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By Bill Torpy, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Photo by Bill Torpy

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