Turner Field, the centrepiece of the 1996 summer Olympic Games and current home of Major League Baseball franchise the Atlanta Braves, is set to be sold to Georgia State University and local real estate company Carter.
The Atlanta Fulton County Recreation Authority (AFCRA) board has selected Georgia State and Carter as the winning bid for the ballpark, which the Braves will depart next year in order to relocate to the under-construction SunTrust Park in Cobb County, northwest of Atlanta in time for the 2017 MLB season.
The Authority will now open up negotiations over the sale of the facility as well as the majority of the surrounding parking areas. Turner Field was listed for sale in early October, just under two years after the Braves announced its decision to move to the new stadium.
Georgia State and Carter intend to convert Turner Field into a 30,000-seat open-air stadium that will be used to stage college American football games. In addition, the $300m (€273m) project will include redeveloping the 67-acre area surrounding the ballpark, with plans in place to construct student housing, apartments and retail facilities.
AFCRA chairman William Whitner said, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution newspaper: “After a thorough 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. We will move forward expeditiously to ensure that we make meaningful progress toward determining the future of this historic neighbourhood."
The Braves are scheduled to play the Detroit Tigers in their last regular season game at Turner Field on October 2 next year. The facility was originally developed as the Centennial Olympic Stadium for Atlanta’s staging of the 1996 Games before being redeveloped into a 49,500-seat ballpark which the Braves has called home since 1997.