ATLANTA – Southwest Atlanta could soon receive an economic shot in the arm now that the board of the civilian authority tasked with redeveloping Fort McPherson has approved a resolution authorizing a memorandum of understanding (MOU) on the sale of 330 acres of property to Tyler Perry Studios.
The agreement was approved Aug. 8.
Perry has held talks with the city for months about acquiring land at the nearly 500-acre site for a movie and television production complex. No city funds would be used to close the transaction.
The McPherson Implementing Local Redevelopment Authority (MILRA) is expected to acquire the entire post from the U.S. Army this year. Perry’s company would then purchase land at the post, which closed in 2011.
Perry plans to shift all or some of his film and television production to Fort McPherson, which could provide a much-needed catalyst for future redevelopment at the complex.
“We foresee more than just a state-of-the-art film and television studio in southwest Atlanta,” said Atlanta City Councilmember Joyce Sheperd, an ex-officio member of the MILRA board and the council representative for that area. “I see a jobs generator and a catalyst for economic investment along the Campbellton Road and Lee Street corridors.”
Tyler Perry Studios will become the anchor tenant on the property. It will include 15-16 sound stages to be built on the property. The move is also expected to add over 8,000 new jobs to Atlanta, including the relocation of 350 jobs.
Under the MOU, the City of Atlanta will retain 144 acres at the site, for economic and housing development, equivalent in size to Atlanta’s mixed use property Atlantic Station.
“Through the McPherson Community Engagement Subcommittee that was formed, citizens and neighborhood organizations have made it clear that any redevelopment should be done in a manner that benefits the community as whole,” Sheperd said. “The walls along Lee Street and Campbellton Road will come down allowing for the development of new housing, green space, retail and restaurants in the area,” she said.
New streetscapes and transit improvements are also being negotiated.
The entire campus lies within the Campbellton Road Tax Allocation District, which will provide much-needed infrastructure funding.
In recent years, southwest Atlanta has quickly become the home of the metro area’s film and television production industry.
EUE/Screen Gem Studios opened in 2010 after signing a 50-year lease with the city. The company, which is also in Councilmember Sheperd’s district, benefits from a 30-percent state tax credit in addition to a sales and use tax exemption.
Sheperd said she envisions Tyler Perry Studios providing an even larger investment at Fort Mac.
“There are beautiful ornate buildings at the base which makes it a perfect fit for film and television production,” Sheperd said. “This studio will be a jewel not only for south Atlanta, but also a model facility in the industry and a model for economic redevelopment of underserved communities.”