Turner Field and the surrounding lots have officially been turned over to a public/private venture between Georgia State University and Carter Development. Full disclosure before we get into this article that I am a resident of Summer Hill, the surrounding neighborhood, as well as a Georgia State alumnus. This is an exciting time for the residents of Summer Hill! The neighborhood has been promised much over the years, from the economic boon that would come from Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium to the same promises for Turner Field during the 1996 Olympics. Neither of those events seemed to pan out for the surrounding neighborhoods. Shops shuttered their doors, and vacant lots spread as far as the eye can see.
Georgia State and Carter Development have promised to transform the neighborhood, utilizing Turner Field as a new football field for the Panthers, and developing the surrounding area into retail, student housing, family housing, and academic space. Georgia State also plans to bring their baseball team into the area from out in Panthersville. The press release from Georgia State can be found here. There are also some nice renderings of what we might expect of the future of the area.
While Georgia State and Carter have reached out and worked with various neighborhood groups throughout the acquisition, there is still some pushback from some, including activists in the Turner Field Community Benefits Coalition. According to Creative Loafing, the idea of the group is to get Georgia State and Carter to sign a binding agreement to maintain affordable housing, insure jobs, and create an oversight committee to maintain communication between the community and developers as the process goes along. That seems fine in theory. I have no qualms with the people of a community reaching out and helping developers understand what the demand in the area is. It should be helpful to anyone trying to make some money here! No, the part I find troubling is the following:
Without the proper safeguards, stadium area growth could spike property values and taxes, pushing longtime residents out of their homes, according to Tim Franzen, a TFCBC member and activist for housing affordability.
I truly do not understand the perverse incentives that exist to actually encourage residents to stunt the growth of their own neighborhood. The problem with the above statement is so clearly that increasing taxes would push people out of their homes. Increasing property values surely wouldn’t do that. In fact, it would increase the wealth of the residents. It’s the taxes that cause the problem. The beef we should have in this situation is not increasing property values, it’s the fact that we never truly own our own home as long as we’re paying the government rent.