When it comes to Fort McPherson’s future, no shortage of big ideas have hatched over the past decade. See the sprawling, 330-acre Tyler Perry Studios complex (realized) and previous “Fort Mac” ambitions that haven’t come to pass.

Now, a new vision has emerged for transforming roughly 133 acres of the former U.S. Army base into  an “inclusive, high-energy community with a creative hub at its heart” along the northern edge of East Point.

Perry, the filmmaker, and a Texas megachurch pastor, T.D. Jakes, have struck separate deals to purchase and develop the remaining Fort Mac acreage, as the Fort McPherson Implementing Local Redevelopment Authority relayed earlier this month. 

Perry’s portion would be about 40 acres, with the other 95 acres or so controlled by Jakes, the founder and pastor of The Potter’s House Church in Dallas. Jakes also has movie-production experience with Lifetime network, according to the AJC.

Renderings recently published by architecture and planning firm SHAPE show a masterplan that would cover the totality of that acreage, creating a hub “where history, art, and culture intersect,” arranged around a central greenspace.

How the public-accessible streets of a revived Fort Mac could look. SHAPE/Perkins & Will

Unlike Perry’s studios, the new entertainment district would be open to the public and include offices, restaurants, retail, and a theater district, according to the development authority. In his own news release, Jakes said he intends to develop affordable and workforce housing to meet a national need.

SHAPE—an acronym for Studio H Architecture Planning Environments—has partnered with Perkins + Will architecture on the designs. The firm’s work in Atlanta includes Castleberry Station, a 50-townhome project in Castleberry Hill, Herndon Homes senior living, and masterplan designs for both Vine City and Atlanta University Center.   

An overview of Fort McPherson's Tyler Perry Studios and adjacent land today. Google Maps

Vision for a new mixed-use district next to Tyler Perry Studios. SHAPE/Perkins & Will

Collectively, Fort McPherson spans 488 acres four miles southwest of downtown Atlanta, or three stops on the airport-bound MARTA transit line. The former U.S. Army base operated for more than a century, claiming the site between Reconstruction and 2011, when it closed.

Many former Army structures, including housing rows for troops and staff, still stand. 

The authority has been searching for a new partner to recreate the studio-adjacent acreage since developer Stephen Macauley backed away (with a buyout) in 2019.

It’s not yet clear when the deals with Perry and the megachurch pastor are expected to close.

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