ATLANTA — After the Atlanta Braves leave the city limits and move into a new stadium in 2017, Turner Field will be torn down, and a former team owner has an idea for a possible use for the site.
While Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed has said he would like to see a middle-class development built on the site, the former owner of the Braves — and the namesake of the team’s current stadium — wants to see the location converted into green space.
If the idea for more green space comes to fruition, it would give residents and travelers alike a new destination in the heart of the city. At the same time, if the stadium is demolished, the city would lose one of the few remaining — and most tangible — links to the 1996 Olympics.
“I just learned the last couple of days that they intend to tear the stadium down,” The Associated Press quoted Ted Turner, who in addition to owning the Braves for a time also founded CNN, as saying. “I thought maybe they’d find, yet, a woman’s soccer team or something like that. … But the idea of turning it into a green-space park would be wonderful.”
The Braves last month announced they are moving to the northern suburb of Cobb County in time for the 2017 season. The Braves’ current lease at Turner Field expires after the 2016 season.
The team is planning to build a new 41,000-seat stadium at a cost of $672 million. Roughly $300 million of the cost for the new stadium, to be located near the heavily trafficked interchange of interstates 75 and 285, will be funded by Cobb County taxpayers.
The new 41,000-seat stadium is a boon for Cobb County, which is looking to attract more tourists. As part of the new stadium, the Braves will turn surrounding land into mixed-use development.
In making their announcement last month, the Braves said Turner Field needs $150 million in “infrastructure work” and another $200 million on “projects focused on improving the fan experience.”
The Braves have played in the city of Atlanta since the team relocated from Milwaukee in 1966. The team moved from Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium to Turner Field, originally built as Centennial Olympic Stadium for the 1996 Olympics, for the 1997 season.
The new Braves stadium is one of two new facilities planned for the Atlanta area. The city of Atlanta is helping the Atlanta Falcons finance and build a new stadium, which is also set to open in 2017.