Frequently empty parking lots north of Turner Field could be developed as a 55-acre entertainment complex, as Invest Atlanta solicits developers about their interest in a potential project.
There’s a lot of land surrounding Turner Field, and it’s not doing a whole lot to bring fans to Atlanta Braves games or generate much in way of revenues for the city; as city officials acknowledge, surface parking isn’t the best use of the land.
But attracting a developer to invest millions in an entertainment complex will be a hard sell. Turner Field is near downtown Atlanta, but it’s not really part of downtown, and the distance is far enough away where you need some sort of dedicated transit system to bring downtowners to the ballpark. Plus, entertainment districts around ballparks tend to evolve rather than be imposed by a developer; when you think of really cool areas around a ballpark, like Chicago’s Wrigleyville or San Diego’s Gaslamp District, they were spurred by an urban ballpark but not created by the city.
Interestingly, the Braves’ lease at Turner Field ends in 2016. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution doesn’t think there’s much of a chance the team will seek a new ballpark, but you never know: a true downtown location for a new facility would be a boost both for the city and for the Braves.
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