Atlanta Considered Casino for Turner Field after Braves Departure

| July 27, 2015

Turner Field

ATLANTA — Mayor Kasim Reed says he will meet with representatives of casino interests who have pitched casinos projects for the Turner Field area. And residents there aren’t happy about it.

“Right up there with a landfill or a prison going in on Turner Field property,” said a Summerhill resident, who asked not to be identified because the resident didn’t want to upset Mayor Reed.

The site will be vacated by the Braves at the end of 2016, when they move the team to a new stadium in Cobb County.

“We’ve never considered a casino!” said Eugene James

Eugene James lives just three blocks east of the 80 acre turner field site. It’s a community that views the departure of the Braves as an opportunity to potentially expand a residential area that gotten more upscale over the last twenty years.

“What would happen if we marketed that site to the world?” James asked during an interview.

Without any marketing, Georgia State University has already pitched a 300 million dollar mixed use development with student housing and two stadiums.

Now Mayor Reed says three casino backers — “major gaming companies”– have made pitches for the property, even though casino gambling isn’t legal in Georgia.

“I’m definitely going to meet with them because they have an interest in making a pretty significant investment in the city of Atlanta,” Reed said Monday.

Reed says although he personally opposes legalizing casino gambling in Georgia, he has to take the casino pitches seriously.

“It would be fiscal malpractice not to meet with them,” Reed said.

James says the neighborhood would like to hear pitches from other developers in a formal process once the Turner Field property actually becomes available.

“Give it a fair study and a fair shot,” James said. “And not just be so one sided and check off whoever races to your door front first.”

It would take an amendment to the Georgia constitution to change the law allowing casino gambling.

WXIA

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