The recently-announced deal from Georgia State University and its development partners to purchase Turner Field might not be in the clear yet.
Gov. Nathan Deal’s top aide suggested Thursday his office wasn’t always in the loop on the proposed deal to convert the Ted into a new football stadium and turn the sea of parking lots surrounding it into a new campus for Georgia State.
“The governor is excited to learn more about this project but anytime a project of this magnitude can move forward without any state funds we should encourage” it, said Chris Riley, Deal’s chief of staff.
It’s not immediately clear whether the proposal struck today by Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed and Georgia State University administrators requires state funding, but the officials in the past signaled they wouldn’t rely on state funding.
Our AJC colleague Janel Davis asked Georgia State president Mark Becker Thursday whether the project needs state funds, and he declined to answer.
Consider Riley’s comments a warning shot that he should not expect a fat check from the state’s coffers.
In May 2014, the Georgia State team unveiled to the editorial board of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution a $300 million vision for the site. It came months after the shocking announcement in November 2013 that the Braves were leaving downtown to open a new suburban stadium in 2017.
The Georgia State team was named the winning bidder for the 70-acre property last December. At the time, officials with the agency that own the stadium said they hoped to have a deal in place within 30 days, but negotiations stretched for months.
The Georgia State team has been quiet about their plans during negotiations. But in December, university President Mark Becker said “the Turner Field project will be transformational for the surrounding neighborhoods, the city and our university, and we embrace our responsibility to work closely with community and civic leaders in getting it done.”