Braves could linger at Turner Field into 2017

ATLANTA -- Several developers have expressed strong interest in making a deal to redevelop the Turner Field property once the Atlanta Braves move to Cobb County, Mayor Kasim Reed said Thursday. "We could sell Turner Field right now," Reed told reporters.

The Braves are due to leave after the 2016 season. But the Braves could stay longer if they can't get their Cobb County stadium built in time.

Although they've said emphatically they're leaving Turner Field after the 2016 season, the Braves have a renewal option in their contract there. If they want to renew, they have to do so by the end of 2015– more than a year before their new stadium is supposed to be finished. And there's not much room for them to hedge. Their own construction timeline shows the stadium to be completed in January 2017 – just nine weeks before the start of baseball season's opening day.

Reed says the redevelopment of Turner Field will stay on hold until the Braves decide whether to exercise their option. "If we did not have the extension provision that the Braves have in their contract, we would have already made a decision" on how to redevelop the Turner Field property, Reed said. The only detail Reed would reveal was that the monument to Hank Aaron's 715th home run would remain.

Reed has said he wants housing in the neighborhood south of downtown. Reed also said he has spoken with Georgia State University's president Mark Becker about the school's interest in the property.

The Braves have a five year option to extend the lease, though the team would undoubtedly ask for a shorter extension if the Braves stadium in Cobb isn't complete by the 2017 season.

If it were to come to that however, Reed said he would insist on a five-year extension. "They gotta take it all," he said smiling. "Can't take a piece. You gotta take all five" years, he said.


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