Entertainment mogul and longtime Atlantan Tyler Perry appears to be making progress on his goal of one day turning part of former U.S. Army base Fort McPherson into a mixed redevelopment both accessible to the public and a boon for surrounding neighborhoods.

The Madea-maker himself recently announced he’s closed a real estate deal to acquire 37.5 more acres located on the southwestern corner of his Atlanta studios, a sprawling (and walled-off) 40-building complex considered one of the country’s largest TV and film production facilities.

Almost all of that acreage on the historic grounds, according to Perry, will be used to build an entertainment district that’s open to the public.

Perry’s ambitions call for dense housing, a grocery store, restaurants, shopping, and live entertainment options in the form of “multiple theaters,” including a “mega 3,500-seat venue,” according to an announcement on Perry’s website. [UPDATE: Housing plans are no longer part of Perry's redevelopment goals at Fort Mac.]

How the public-accessible streets of a revived Fort Mac could look, according to renderings unveiled in 2021. SHAPE/Perkins & Will

Perry expects the theater to become “a destination” that brings him back to his roots in theater, where he could also put on his own live shows, per the announcement.

Another facet would be a Tyler Perry Studios museum. That facility would serve as a starting point for public tours of the 330-acre studio complex, which includes sets ranging from a classic diner, farmhouse, and county jail to a realistic White House replica.

Perry says the mixed-use project has been in the works since almost back when his team started construction on the first Fort Mac lot. He expects it to be built and open within three to five years.

“It’s opening up a whole new area to the community,” Perry said in a statement. “It will give people an opportunity to take pride in their community.”

An overview of Fort McPherson's Tyler Perry Studios and adjacent land today, south of downtown Atlanta. The 37-acre entertainment district would generally be located at bottom left. Google Maps

Meanwhile, the balance of 90-plus acres left at the former Army base has been acquired by Texas megachurch pastor, author, and filmmaker T.D. Jakes.

Jakes, founder and pastor of The Potter’s House Church in Dallas, reportedly has movie-production experience with Lifetime network.

When the Fort McPherson Implementing Local Redevelopment Authority indicated in 2021 that remaining acreage would be sold to Perry and the pastor, their separate developments were collectively described as an “inclusive, high-energy community with a creative hub at its heart.”

In a news release at the time, Jakes said he intends to develop affordable and workforce housing to meet a national need.

At last check, architecture and planning firm SHAPE was collaborating with Perkins + Will architecture on a Fort Mac masterplan, as depicted in renderings in the gallery above.


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Next to Tyler Perry Studios, Fort McPherson masterplan emerges (Urbanize Atlanta)