Invest Atlanta, the city’s economic development arm, sent out a request Friday seeking ideas from developers about turning parking lots in the area into a more vibrant neighborhood that includes retail businesses and parks.
Development projects have flopped in other parts of Atlanta during the recession and the tepid recovery that followed. If the sports and entertainment center is built, it would face competition from other mixed-use centers across the region. Still, redevelopment officials said signs appear to a point to a revival in the local market.
“We’ve been working on it for quite some time,” Ty Rachal, Invest Atlanta’s redevelopment director, told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Officials said the goal is to create a destination that could accommodate thousands of fans on game days and offer a vibrant neighborhood even when the Braves are elsewhere. Invest Atlanta has asked for proposals to pay homage to the team, for example, honoring Hank Aaron’s record-breaking 755th home run.
A special tax district in the area has raised $386,000 in property taxes since it was created in 2006. So far, the city has not leveraged those funds.
The team’s lease on Turner Field and nearby parking lots ends in 2016, potentially allowing it to leave the area. Team executives recently met with Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed on ways to improve the neighborhood.
“Mayor Reed values our organization staying in Atlanta, and this initiative is something that came out of that discussion: A public-private partnership that keeps the Atlanta Braves in the city of Atlanta,” said Mike Plant, the team’s vice president for business operations.