After months of speculation and bean-counting, it looks like Turner Field is about to be owned by Georgia State University.
The Atlanta Fulton County Recreation Authority, owners of the 67-acre site where Turner Field sits, approved the terms of the sale on Friday. Final closing could be made "within weeks" and the price could end up over $100 million.
Along with the news of the OK came renderings of what Turner Field will look like after it's refitted for football. Any such plans have not been officially unveiled and any construction can't begin until January 1, 2017 when the Atlanta Braves are officially no longer tenants. Unless it can be done in nine months, the facility would be ready for some football at earliest in fall 2018.
The Panthers currently play in the 71,000-seat Georgia Dome and until Turner Field is refitted, will play in the new 71,000-seat Mercedes-Benz Stadium starting in 2017. The largest Georgia State home crowd in 2015 was 11,512, not even half of the lower bowl of the Georgia Dome.
Having their own facility at a smaller capacity (rumored around 30,000) would be a huge boost for Georgia State and no longer put the team at the whim of NFL (and starting in 2017, MLS) scheduling.
Besides having their own football stadium, Georgia State wants to use all of the 67-acre site to have facilities for other Olympic sports, which currently play several miles away in Decatar, as well as potential classroom space, administrative offices and student housing.