During his 1961 campaign for mayor of Atlanta, Ivan Allen Jr. promised to build a sports facility to attract a Major League Baseball team. After winning office, Allen chose a 47-acre (19 ha) plot in the Washington–Rawson neighborhood for the building site, citing its proximity to the state capitol, downtown businesses, and major highways. Allen and The Atlanta Journal sports editor Furman Bisher attempted to persuade Charlie Finley, owner of the Kansas City Athletics, to move his team to Atlanta. Finley was receptive and began discussing stadium design plans with Allen. However, the deal ended in July 1963 when the American League did not approve the move.
In 1964, Mayor Allen announced that an unidentified team had given him a verbal commitment to move to Atlanta, provided a stadium was in place by 1966. Soon afterward, the prospective team was revealed to be the Milwaukee Braves, who announced in October that they intended to move to Atlanta for the 1965 season. However, court battles kept the Braves in Milwaukee for one last season.