Bishop T.D. Jakes’ real estate company in talks to buy unspecified acreage at Fort MacPart of Tyler Perry Studios peeks over wall into a yet-undeveloped part of the former Fort McPherson (Photo by Kelly Jordan)
By Maria Saporta and Maggie Lee
T.D. Jakes Real Estate Ventures is entering talks to buy and develop some amount of land at southwest Atlanta’s shuttered Fort McPherson.
The plans for negotiations became public on Thursday, when the board of the Fort McPherson Local Redevelopment Authority unanimously voted to start 45 days of exclusive negotiations with T.D. Jakes Real Estate Ventures over some unstated number of acres.
About 132 acres of the former fort have yet to be redeveloped.
“We’d like to thank Tyler Perry for the vision he’s had for this property and its potential for nearly a decade,” said For Mac LRA board chair Cassius Butts in a press release Thursday afternoon. “And Bishop T.D. Jakes and his team for their ability to embrace the vision and work together on a potential development with the Fort Mac LRA. If we are able to solidify this partnership between T.D. Jakes and Fort Mac LRA, it would be incredibly impactful on our community.”
T.D. Jakes Real Estate Ventures was formed in September 2020 with a self-described mission to “source, underwrite, and develop real estate for the purposes of positively impacting communities and stimulating wealth development.”
In the Thursday press release, Jakes said “I am proud of my long history in the city of Atlanta through my legacy events and film production. I am excited to add to the cadre of events in this next step that will enable us to explore the opportunities that Fort Mac has extended as a part of this community development project. We are thrilled that this exciting opportunity will be developed adjacent to the historic landmark of Tyler Perry Studios. We are committed to taking the time to include and understand the specific needs of the burgeoning community.”
Jakes’ reach goes far beyond the headquarters of his ministry and The Potter’s House megachurch in Dallas, where he’s working to build what would be one of the biggest foundations in Texas, according to the Dallas Morning News. His work extends to books, movies, online broadcast and other media.
Jakes and his would-be neighbor, Tyler Perry, already know each other, the movie mogul told SaportaReport.
“We are not in partnership with T.D. Jakes,” Perry said on Thursday afternoon. “But we look forward to seeing what T.D. Jakes is planning to do to see how it will complement our future development.”
Tyler Perry Studios wants to buy 31.5 acres adjacent to the roughly 330 acres he bought in 2015.
“We haven’t even made an offer, and we haven’t submitted our plans” to the authority, Perry said.
“I”m interested in acquiring 31.5 acres adjacent to the studio for an entertainment district. I look forward to reviewing what they’re planning to do on the remaining acreage,” he said.
Under the terms of his 2015 purchase, Perry also has a “right of first offer” on the remaining fort land — he can match any other offer to acquire fort land over other buyers.
Back in 2019, the Fort Mac authority considered a proposal from Macauley Investments to redevelop the roughly 132 acres of the fort that the authority still controls, a plan Macauley had been at work on for years. But they and Maculey parted ways, a decision eventually that cost the authority $3.5 million.
In 2019, Fort Mac leaders suggested they’d issue an RFP to find a new developer.
The Fort Mac LRA received an unsolicited proposal from T.D. Jakes Real Estate Ventures before beginning the RFQ/RFP process, according to a statement from the agency.
This story has been updated with further comment from Fort Mac about the RFP.