ATLANTA - Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed announced the sale of Turner Field Thursday morning.
“Today I’m proud to announce that we have a signed, purchase and sale agreement between Georgia State University, Carter and Oakwood Development,” Reed said at a news conference.
The agreement, according to Reed, symbolizes a promise kept to the community and focuses not only on Turner Field, but also the 67 acres surrounding it.
“I’m here to tell you that Turner Field may no longer be a baseball stadium, but it will still be a field of dreams,” the mayor said.
The project will be dedicated to showing a commitment to higher density housing, retail office space, parks and a football stadium for the Georgia State University Panthers, where Turner Field now stands.
“Goodbye asphalt eyesores, hello 21st century. Hello retail, hello residential, hello walkable streets and bike pass," Reed said.
The development will also include a transit component connecting the neighborhoods south of Interstate 20 to downtown Atlanta with the controversial expansion of the street car, if a November penny sales tax referendum passes.
“Not only is it a great day, it’s a long day coming. Today we embark on an exciting chapter for the city of Atlanta and some of our partners as we reach a major milestones in the plans to change the community and this part of our city forever.”
Mayor Reed made the announcement from the Turner Field Plaza, next to the statue of Hank Aaron.
In fact, the Atlanta Fulton County Recreational Authority announced that the popular iconic statue will remain in the city of Atlanta. Some in the Braves organization had wanted the statue to go to Cobb County with the team December 31, but that will not happen.
Mayor Reed promised that many of the eyesores and blighted area in the Turner Field area will be replaced by restaurants, retail shops and inner city housing development that will span five different neighborhoods.
Jane Ridley, a 30-year resident around Turner Field, is encouraged, but still skeptical. She said she has heard all the big promises before from other developers that never came true.
“I want to see what they are going to do for the seniors in this community and the young people who use to be able to go to the movies. I hope they do everything that they promise,” Ridley said.
Mayor Reed said 1600 residents gave input on the redevelopment plan. The closing date on the multi-million dollar deal is December 31.