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Fort Mac board approves T.D. Jakes’ initial plans – not yet publicly released – to redevelop 95 acres

John Hope Bryant has a virtual conversation with Bishop T.D. Jakes at 2021 HOPE Global Summit (Photo by Maria Saporta)

Click here for updated story with Fort Mac LRA statement on the T.D. Jakes draft master plan.

By Maria Saporta

The Fort Mac redevelopment authority spent more than two hours in executive session before spending five minutes in public session to pass a unanimous resolution approving the preliminary master plan proposed by T.D. Jakes’ and his real estate company.

At no point during the virtual board meeting did the board present the Jakes’ plans to redevelop 95 acres of land that once was part of the 488-acre Fort McPherson. Chairman Cassius Butts was not present. Fulton County Commissioner Marvin Arrington  Jr. presided over the meeting.

Joyce Sheperd, the Atlanta City Council woman who represents the area and coordinates a community engagement subcommittee, said the plans will be presented next Wednesday afternoon at her meeting.

T.D. Jakes. Credit/Special: T.D. Jakes Foundation

Bishop T.D. Jakes. (Special: T.D. Jakes Foundation)

“The plan will be discussed,” Sheperd said. “This is just a preliminary plan of T.D. Jakes. There’s still a huge amount of community input that will be going into the plan. This plan is just in the beginning stages.”

Jakes, who participated in a chat with Operation HOPE founder John Hope Bryant on Wednesday, accurately predicted that his plan would be approved within 24 hours by the authority.

Jakes described his vision to redevelop the 95 acres during a conversation with Bryant at the annual HOPE Global Summit. Jakes participated through a virtual livestream from his base in Dallas, Texas.

Once the Jakes’ deal is consummated, the McPherson Implementing Redevelopment Authority (MILRA) will have sold almost all of the land that used to encompass the fort.

Media mogul Tyler Perry purchased 330 acres for $30 million, and he now has a contract to buy another 37 acres for an entertainment and commercial zone that will be publicly accessible.

“TPS (Tyler Perry Studios) is in the due diligence phase,” said David Burt, MILRA’s executive director. The sale to TPS will mean that MILRA will have to relocate its offices, and the authority likely will move to a building that will be owned by Jakes, where it will be able to remain for at least two years.

MILRA spokesman Mark Hayes said a press statement on the Jakes’ plan would soon be released. He also said he is working to see if he can share renderings or details of the proposal. An official request for those plans, which would be subject to open records, was made on Wednesday.

This story will be updated or a future story will be posted with those plans and/or statement when they are made available.

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Maria Saporta

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.

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