Surprise! Georgia State, Carter picked to redevelop Turner Field and massive, lifeless parking lot

Negotiations to begin 'immediately,' board chair says in statement

As everyone expected, Georgia State University and Atlanta-based developers Carter and Oakwood Development have been selected to become the new owners of Turner Field and the surrounding parking lots.

The joint venture plans to spend $300 million turning Turner Field into a college football stadium and the adjacent sea of asphalt into student housing, retail, and some greenspace. According to 11 Alive, there is also the option of building a second stadium on the property. 

“After a through review of all the proposals, including in person presentations, the Board of the City of Atlanta and Fulton County Recreation Authority has a preferred bidder and will commence negotiations immediately,” AFCRA Board Chairman William Whitner says in a news release picked up by the Atlanta Journal Constitution.

He added: “We will move forward expeditiously to ensure that we make meaningful progress toward determining the future of this historic neighborhood. AFCRA has been a long-time partner in this community and we fully appreciate the importance of negotiating with a developer that will have the community’s interest foremost in mind.”

Nearby communities had hoped that the Atlanta Fulton County Recreation Authority, the entity that oversees Turner Field, Zoo Atlanta, and Philips Arena, would wait until communities could complete a study of the area's future. That exercise began two weeks ago. AFCRA did inform potential bidders that the communities' desires should be taken into account.

In a statement, Mayor Kasim Reed, who appoints the majority of AFCRA's board, said he was "pleased" with its unanimous decision to select GSU and Carter.

"Today’s sale is a significant step forward in the continued revitalization of the Summerhill, Peoplestown, Mechanicsville, Pittsburgh and Grant Park neighborhoods and strengthens Georgia State University’s position as one of the leading universities in the nation," Reed said.  

The sale is not finalized so details about the bidders' specific proposals can remain under wraps. The Mercury Youth Organization, a nonprofit that envisioned an indoor track and luxury housing, and Rita World Pearl Kingdom LLC, a mysterious entity that virtually no one has heard of, were the only other bidders who stepped up to compete for the redevelopment opportunity.