Fort McPherson signs first tenant

By Maggie Lee

Movie mogul Tyler Perry and the veterans’ medical campus at Fort McPherson are getting a new neighbor: the Wolf Idea Group is setting up headquarters and a showroom at the shuttered U.S. Army post in southwest Atlanta.

The deal makes Wolf the first tenant signed by the Fort McPherson Local Redevelopment Authority, which is in charge of redeveloping 145 mostly mothballed acres of the old base. Wolf founded the ARTlanta Gallery in Adair Park.

Visitors browse the Wolf Idea Group's gallery at Fort McPherson at an opening event on July 8. Credit: Kelly Jordan

Visitors browse the Wolf Idea Group gallery at Fort McPherson at an opening event on July 8. Credit: Kelly Jordan

“We want ARTlanta specifically not just because they are artists but because they are conveners of an arts community,” said Fort Mac LRA Executive Director Brian Hooker.

“We want them convening their arts community on our site, whether it’s culinary art or visual art or performing arts or music. They touch it all and can provide for a variety of events and activities that can bring a broad cross section of people to the site and reintroduce them to Fort McPherson,” Hooker said.

He  said there’s been a lot of momentum since the May announcement of a master developer, Macauley Investments. Macauley will be in charge of creating a more detailed plan for Fort Mac LRA’s property which will align with the Livable Centers Initiative study of the area that called for green space, mixed-use development and mixed-income housing, among other things.

“Folks now have a sense that something’s coming and they want to be there and be part of it,” said Hooker.

Public meetings for comments and input on Macauley’s work will be announced soon, Hooker said.

Visitors to Wolf Idea Groups new space at Fort McPherson on July 8. Credit: Kelly Jordan

Visitors to Wolf Idea Group’s new space at Fort McPherson on July 8. Credit: Kelly Jordan

He said that with all the space available, there’s a lot of possibility on the site and said there’s been notable interest from potential tenants who want to do job training programs.

“Organizations that help people retool their skills to fit the skillsets that are required in a modern economy. There are a bunch of folks we’re in talks with about that as well,” Hooker said.

Wolf Idea Group founder Tyree Smith said in a written statement, “We see the vision and promise that the redevelopment of Fort Mac offers to the surrounding community, and are excited to be one of the first to show our support for its future.  We are excited to play a role in that vision, and to bring local artists into the effort, as we produce events with heart to help uplift the Fort Mac community.”

The Wolf Group will occupy a total of 2,248 square feet in two small homes built in the late 1800s, according to Fort Mac LRA.

Fort McPherson closed in 2011, though the military mission lives on in a newly renovated Department of Veterans Affairs medical campus on the site. Tyler Perry Studios bought 330 acres of the former Fort McPherson in 2015.  The Fort Mac LRA oversees redevelopment on the rest of the site.

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Maggie Lee is a freelance reporter who's been covering Georgia and metro Atlanta government and politics since 2008.

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