ATLANTA -- The president of Georgia State University said that he sees a lot of potential in the Turner Field property.
Since his arrival in 2009, Dr. Mark Becker has overseen some staggering growth in GSU's downtown Atlanta campus -- from new construction projects like its law school and dormitories -- to an expansion of the student body to more than 32,000 students.
When he looks at the Turner Field property to the south of GSU's campus, Dr. Becker sees what may be the future.
"There's a lot of land out there," Becker said in an interview with 11 Alive News. "You could do a variety of things. You could see housing developing. Grant Park is not that far away. You might see some retail potentially in that area."
Some residents of the community are wary of Georgia State's interest. Suzanne Mitchell, president of the Organized Neighbors of Summerhill, says she wants to see the property become family friendly, with housing and family-friendly commercial development.
One of Georgia State's greatest needs is student housing, and Turner Field's 55 acres has abundant room for that. Dr. Becker also sees the soon-to-be vacant stadium itself as a possible fit for GSU's football team.
"I believe it was the Olympic Stadium…and the Olympic Stadium had a footprint more like a football stadium than a baseball stadium. So I would have to believe that could happen," Becker said.
Mitchell, however, says she wants no part of any continued athletics on the Turner Field site. She envisions the property becoming an amphitheater or housing a tech-driven employer.
Georgia State University's new law school is under construction now and due to open next year. Its student body has expanded to 32,000 and the school has an immediate need for more student housing.
And that, Dr. Becker says, would all fit within the framework of the expansive university he leads. He emphasizes that although GSU has been approached by developers, no serious talks have begun. He says it's too soon.
The last Braves game is due to be played at Turner Field in the fall of 2016.