ATLANTA, Ga – Several tents popped outside the old Atlanta Braves stadium overnight as dozens of residents from Mechanicsville protested plans to redevelop the property.
Residents are asking Carter Development and Georgia State University to negotiate a binding community benefits agreement that, they say, will ensure that residents have a voice in how their neighborhoods are developed.
Georgia State only acquired the stadium in January after purchasing it for $22.8 million, and began construction in February. The university is retrofitting the baseball stadium into a football stadium for the Panthers.
PHOTOS: Protestors camp outside Turner Field
Georgia State is currently in phase one of its plan for the stadium, which means downsizing it to 23,000 seats while ultimately getting the stadium to a usable state to play football in. Phase one will be completed prior to the team's home opener on Aug. 31 against Tennessee State.
Phase two will be the following year and includes building out the rest of the stadium and adding more seats.
The latest proposed development documents submitted to the Georgia Department of Community Affairs show that the "Blue Parking Lot" will be where the Panthers' new baseball stadium will be built. Georgia State President Dr. Mark Becker expects team to play the 2019 college baseball season in the new stadium.
Construction to build new student housing is expected to begin later this year. Scott Taylor, the developer with Carter helping Georgia State, is hoping to begin re-purposing some of the existing buildings on the 68-acre site as early as this summer.
The remainder of the property could be developed by Georgia State into a project that could grow to as much as 1.5 million square feet of office space, 700,000 square feet of commercial and retail space, 625 hotel rooms, some 2,750 apartment units, and 50 single-family homes.
Protestors say affordable housing is become more and more scarce, and income inequality is increasing.