Southwest Atlanta has not benefited from the same agreeable forces that have lifted the rest of a great city. There has been no significant investment there in decades and the closing of Fort McPherson in 2005 brought the loss of 7000 jobs.

A local redevelopment authority was established to figure out what was to be done with five hundred sylvan acres so close to downtown Atlanta. HOK did a study in 2007 that was heavily programmed toward tech and research. A 2010 plan revised assumptions about growth and development based on the new realities of the economy.

Georgia has become a major film center. In 2014 two thirds of the fort property was sold to Tyler Perry Studios. Developing the remaining land, lining two miles of development corridors along Lee Street and Campbellton Road, fell to the Fort Mac LRA.

The Urban Land Institute did a study of the divided property in 2015, delivering a realistic appraisal of the challenges. A Livable Centers Initiative (LCI) study was conducted in 2016 and adopted by the city as a guideline for the redevelopment of the area around the fort property.

The LCI’s major goals included housing more people near the MARTA stations at either end of the fort, maximizing the isolated fort property’s connections to the community, and minimizing displacement. In 2017, the LRA hired a master developer. The master developer consulted the Prince’s Foundation for Building Communities and retained our firm to collaborate with PFBC on the master plan, which follows in the slipstream of the LCI plan.

The challenges identified by the Urban Land Institute study remain. The biggest likely challenges will involve investment, lending, parking, preservation, affordability, and the ever-present threat of displacement.