Developer named for Atlanta’s Fort McPherson

4:43 p.m Wednesday, May 17, 2017 Local
Aerial of the front gate at Fort McPherson shot from the east looking west on Aug. 24, 2005. AJC File Photo

The agency steering the redevelopment of Fort McPherson has picked a master developer for a portion of the former military installation.

The McPherson Implementing Local Redevelopment Authority has selected a partnership led by Atlanta area developer and planner Stephen Macauley. Terms of the partnership were not immediately known, but Macauley Investments will be in charge of maintaining and reviving existing buildings, as well as for new development on a campus totaling about 145 acres.

“This firm’s entrepreneurial, visionary approach to developing award-winning mixed-use projects in emerging markets like ours gives us confidence they have the experience, enthusiasm and capability to accomplish great things in our community,” Brian Hooker, the redevelopment authority’s executive director, said Thursday in a news release.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
A sign marking the site of the future Tyler Perry Studios facility at Fort McPherson. Perry closed on a deal in 2015 with a civilian agency and the Army that will lead to him controlling 330 acres on the site. Documents obtained by the AJC show he has plans for a museum and amphitheater. J. Scott Trubey/STAFF strubey@ajc.com.

Macauley is perhaps best known for suburban residential communities such as Harmony on the Lakes in Cherokee County.

One of his past firms, however, flamed out during the financial crisis when home sales plummeted resulting in a personal bankruptcy. Among the projects that faltered during the downturn was a mammoth luxury development in south Fulton County known as Le Jardin that included former Atlanta Braves slugger Brian Jordan as a top investor.

Since the recession, Macauley has reinvented business, pitching denser mixed-use projects in Doraville and Tucker.

Macauley did not immediately return a message seeking comment.

Tyler Perry plans to build on Fort McPherson

The selection of a new development team is a step forward for the former Army post, which was closed in 2011, and for years saw its future in limbo. But it’s no sure bet.

A prior master plan with a different development team, which called for a mix of residences and retail anchored by a technology and bio-science park, was scrapped when it failed to gain traction.

In June 2014, filmmaker Tyler Perry emerged as a suitor for most of the property, A year later, Perry closed on his purchase of 330 acres of the post for a sprawling new film and television studio. Officials with the redevelopment authority, also known as Fort Mac LRA, have said the Perry studio will deliver a jolt of jobs and investment not seen since the post’s closure.

The deal between the city, Perry and the Army also left the Fort Mac LRA with about 145 acres for future redevelopment.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed and filmmaker Tyler Perry during a meeting of the McPherson Implementing Local Redevelopment Authority.

The property offers tantalizing opportunities along MARTA, and the Beltline, and the property is a short drive or train ride to Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport. But redevelopment in the area also has been hampered by relatively low household incomes and a reputation for crime.

The agency conducted feasibility studies and engaged the community in a master planning exercise with the Atlanta Regional Commission known as a Livable Centers Initiative. Macauley is expected to design a master plan in keeping with the community study, which included plans for parks, arts and entertainment spaces and affordable and market-rate housing.

Officials also started food truck events and festivals to draw residents and business leaders from nearby neighborhoods onto the site.

The Veterans Administration also has medical facilities on the post.

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