Turner Field will live on with a future transformation to a college football stadium after being purchased by Georgia State University. But there’s even more in store for the stadium after the Atlanta Braves vacate.
Georgia State University purchased Turner Field on Thursday, pending approval by the state Board of Regents. According to 11Alive News, Georgia State and the Atlanta Fulton County Recreation Authority came to an agreement regarding the terms of the sale on Thursday. The sale price is $30 million, and there are big plans in store for the future of Turner Field.
The City of Atlanta
Georgia State’s purchasing Turner Field goes far beyond finally acquiring a football stadium for the Panthers to call home. The sale also includes 60 acres of land south of downtown. This has been a struggling area for years while other parts of the city have flourished. The agreement contains plans for Georgia State to transform Turner Field into a college football stadium, yes. However, there are also plans to add a college baseball stadium at Atlanta Fulton County Stadium.
But that’s not all. Additionally, the football and baseball stadiums will be surrounded by university housing and facilities as well as shopping and restaurants. Many believe the project will help revitalize the community, including Mayor Kasim Reed.
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VIA 11Alive News:
"The project is likely to spark additional demand for vacant or underused real estate currently surrounding Turner Field, in a neighborhood that has been challenged for decades with decay. It’s prediction met warily by some longtime residents.“We want gentrification but the right type of gentrification,” said Suzanne Mitchell of the Organized Neighbors of Summerhill. The project is likely to impact Summerhill, Peoplestown and Grant Park. Mechanicsville and Pittsburg, across the interstate from Turner Field, may also see an impact on property demand.“We will be talking with our friends at the county again about how we protect our low income families and our seniors from displacement,” Mitchell said. She also agrees with Mayor Reed that the project will be transformative for an area that needs it.“We’re going to make this one of the most attractive most vibrant most livable communities in the life of the city of Atlanta,” Reed said Thursday."
Georgia State Panthers football
This is obviously great news for the Georgia State Panthers. A stadium of their own means that the Panthers are no longer at the mercy of the Atlanta Falcons when it comes to scheduling home games. Plus, they would have to take into consideration the scheduling of Atlanta United FC’s upcoming inaugural 2017 season.
Georgia State football players and fans can also now look forward to a newfound sense of community. The Georgia Dome seats 71,228, but attendance has always been far less, leaving plenty of empty seats. Prior to the changes Georgia State plans to implement, Turner Field has a capacity of 49,586. Hopefully this slightly smaller atmosphere will help give the Panthers more of a sense of being at home.
In the end, Turner Field lives on, Georgia State University expands, and Atlanta thrives.