BeltLine’s Brian Hooker new director of Fort Mac redevelopment board

By Maria Saporta

As plans progress for Atlanta entertainment mogul Tyler Perry to convert most of the now-closed Fort McPherson into a major movie studio complex, Fort Mac’s redevelopment authority Monday selected a new executive director.

The board unanimously selected Brian Hooker, vice president of real estate for Atlanta BeltLine Inc., as the new executive director of the McPherson Implementing Local Redevelopment Authority (MILRA), a state entity.

“After looking at many candidates and interviewing lots of folks, we are ready to hire Brian Hooker,” said Chandra Houston, who heads the human resources committee for MILRA’s board.

Brian Hooker

Brian Hooker

MILRA Chairman Felker Ward chimed in about Hooker “We have a candidate here who is perfectly capable of doing the job,” Ward said. “He is the right person for the job.”

Simultaneously the MILRA board accepted the retirement of Jack Sprott, who has been serving as executive director of the Fort’s planning and redevelopment efforts since 2006,when it became clear that the base would be closed.

Sprott already has sold his Atlanta home, and he is moving back to Charleston, S.C., where he had been executive director of the Charleston Naval Complex Redevelopment Authority from 1995 to 2005.

Before joining the Atlanta BeltLine, Hooker was director of strategic location solutions for CBRE Consulting from January 2005 to February 2012. He also was an asset manager for Hooker Properties from 2001 to 2005; vice president of strategic operations for Luxcore Networks; senior consultant and project manager for IBM Global Services; and project manager of information technology for the Atlanta Committee for the Olympic Games.

“I’m grateful to the board for giving me the opportunity to work on such an important project to this community, our city and our region,” Hooker said after the board voted to make him the new executive director.

Hooker is taking over MILRA’s operations at a sensitive time for the Fort. Plans are underway to acquire the 488-acre Fort from the U.S. Army in October for a total of $26 million, Ward disclosed Monday.

At the same time, MILRA has negotiated a deal to sell Perry 325 acres for $30 million.

Jack Sprott

Jack Sprott

About 147 acres would remain under MILRA’s control, but the board did not disclose how much of that would be dedicated to green space or how that property would be developed. But the authority would retain control of all the frontage along Campbellton Road on the western edge of the property.

The deal with Tyler Perry, which was orchestrated by Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed, has been controversial in the community because it was done outside the process that had been agreed to. Several community leaders said they felt left out of the Tyler Perry deal, which had been negotiated behind closed doors.

Also a federal lawsuit has been filed by a company – Ubiquitous Entertainment – that said it had already proposed developing a movie studio complex at Fort McPherson, but had been told that MILRA could not negotiate with it or any other party until it acquired the title of the land from the federal government. That case is ongoing.

Hooker, who got his bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from Stanford University, attended Benjamin E. Mays High School in Atlanta. He also was a member of the 2013 class of the Center for Leadership of the ULI-Atlanta District Council.

Maria Saporta, Editor, is a longtime Atlanta business, civic and urban affairs journalist with a deep knowledge of our city, our region and state.  Since 2008, she has written a weekly column and news stories for the Atlanta Business Chronicle. Prior to that, she spent 27 years with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, becoming its business columnist in 1991. Maria received her Master’s degree in urban studies from Georgia State and her Bachelor’s degree in journalism from Boston University. Maria was born in Atlanta to European parents and has two young adult children.

2 replies
  1. Tracie Annette Sanchez says:

    Being from East Point and having family legacy at Fort Mac, and being a cyclist and ABC member and BeltLine fan, Im encouraged that B.Hooker will bring the BeltLine to Ft.Mac and other relevant bike/ped/trail connections on the property.Report

    Reply
  2. tessvis says:

    Ia ma elated that Brian will take the helm. My fellow Mays High School Raider has always been a visionary and the top of his class. He knows Atlanta, especially SW, and bring a breath of experience to the position. 

    I trust we will see this project flourish for the betterment of us all.Report

    Reply

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