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Bids to be sought for Turner Field development | News

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Bids to be sought for Turner Field development

ATLANTA -- Development of the Turner Field area will open to competitive bidding this fall.

The Atlanta-Fulton County Recreation Authority will likely issue a formal request for proposals (RFP) at its next meeting, said AFCRA executive director Keisha Lance Bottoms.

It means that Georgia State University, which submitted a pitch for the property last year, will have competition from developers with different ideas of how to use the property once the Atlanta Braves vacate at the end of 2016.

Bottoms said the RFP will likely ask potential buyers to submit bids to purchase the property. However, she says the best financial package won't necessarily win approval of the AFCRA, which owns the property and is controlled by Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed. Bottoms is also a member of the Atlanta city council and a possible candidate for mayor in 2017.

Bottoms AFCRA will consider the desires of residents currently living in neighborhoods surrounding Turner Field, as well as the needs of the city and the financial benefits offered. Many residents have complained that the Georgia State plan, which converts Turner Field into a football stadium and builds an additional college baseball stadium, isn't neighborhood friendly.

Kimbery Jones of the Summerhill Organized Neighbors group says residents are excited that the RFP will "create interest in this property rather than just selling to the first person that comes along," she said, referring the GSU.

Bottoms says GSU will have to re-offer its proposal once the RFP is issued. "It's absolutely not a done deal. Georgia State will have to submit a bid just as anyone else would," Bottoms said.

The city and Atlanta Regional Commission have commissioned a land use study for the 1000 acres surrounding Turner Field. Bottoms says that study, due the middle of next year, will be factored into the area's ultimate development. But she said it's too soon to be specific about how it will be incorporated into the RFP process.

The Turner Field property is just a few blocks from downtown. The Braves are leaving, in part, because the area never developed commercially, leaving it overrun with vacant lots, shuttered business and blighted buildings.

When the Braves leave, most of the property left behind will consist of vacant lots -- currently used for parking for baseball fans and GSU students.