As predicted when MLB baseball left town, the rapid evolution of Summerhill’s parking lots, fallow land, and vacant storefronts is continuing on virtually all sides of what used to be the Atlanta Braves' stadium.

That includes an important new facility for Georgia State University, fresh storefronts along Georgia Avenue, and now—officially—the major grocery store developers and city officials say the historic neighborhood has long needed.

As was rumored on these pages in February, Publix has finalized a lease with developer Carter to build a 50,000-square-foot grocery as part of the 19-block Summerhill redevelopment south of downtown.

A central point in the planned 80-acre development, the Publix will be located off Hank Aaron Drive, just northeast of Center Parc Stadium’s football confines, formerly the Braves’ Turner Field. (We asked for renderings but were told they're not yet available.) 

During a press conference this week, Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms said the Publix will eliminate a food desert, adding: “When we embarked upon the transformation of Turner Field, the consistent plea from the community was access to fresh and healthy food options.” Scott Taylor, Carter’s president and CEO, called the Publix a “dream” coming to fruition for neighbors who’ve been vocal since the developer’s earliest community meetings in 2014.

Construction of the Publix is expected to start later this year, officials said. It’ll join a flurry of leasing activity and development along Georgia Avenue, active townhome sites to the immediate east of the stadium, and hundreds of new or under-construction apartments along Hank Aaron Drive.

Also to the north, GSU has recently topped out construction on its $85-million convocation center, as illustrated in a flyover video provided to Urbanize Atlanta by school reps.

View of the forthcoming GSU building when headed into downtown along Hank Aaron Drive/Capitol Avenue from Summerhill.Courtesy of Georgia State University; designs by SLAM, Heery, and Perkins & Will architects.

The GSU convocation center project in Summerhill as seen last month. Screen-capture via YouTube, courtesy Georgia State University

The facility is coming together on a 6-acre lot where Capitol Avenue meets Fulton Street. It broke ground in November and is expected to open in August next year.   

Beyond graduation ceremonies of up to 7,500 people, the center will host Panthers basketball games, esports tourneys, large conferences, and 8,000-seat concerts. That’s an upgrade from the circa-1972 Georgia State Sports Arena, where max capacity is currently 3,500 seats.

GSU now graduates more than 10,000 students each year, and the convocation center is meant to feel like a bridge toward the college’s expanding downtown campus.

• Photos: Newest flank of Summerhill retail succeeds in blending with old (Urbanize Atlanta)