Updated: Tyler Perry in talks to buy Ft. McPherson land

Updated: Tyler Perry in talks to buy Ft. McPherson land

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Keith Hadley
0508024 Atlanta, Ga. NWS- Areial of the front gate at Fort McPherson shot from the east looking west. The Base Realignment and Closure Commission voted to keep on its closure list Fort Gillem in Forest Park, Fort McPherson in Atlanta, the Naval Air Station Atlanta in Marietta and the Navy Supply Corps School in Athens. (Staff Photo by Keith Hadley)

The board of the civilian authority tasked with redeveloping Fort McPherson voted on Wednesday to begin formal negotiations to sell a portion of the former Army post to filmmaker Tyler Perry.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution first reported Wednesday afternoon that Perry has held talks with the city for months about acquiring land at the nearly 500-acre site for a possible movie and television production complex.

Following a vote by the McPherson Implementing Local Redevelopment Authority, or MILRA, Wednesday, Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed said the city will now begin “robust” conversations with the filmmaker.

Reed said Perry will eventually present his redevelopment vision to the neighboring communities. He believes such a development will draw other businesses to the area.

“He’s had an amazing career in Atlanta,” Reed said. “And I wanted to do everything I could to have him keep his businesses here.”

An individual with knowledge of the situation told the AJC the purchase price of the land could be $30 million to $35 million.

Perry’s representatives did not immediately return messages seeking comment. MILRA chairman Felker Ward declined comment.

The plan could be the latest large-scale film campus announcement over the past few years as Hollywood invaded Georgia to tap into the state’s rich incentives for movie and television production.

Perry is the creator of the “Madea” film franchise and several television series. His company currently operates a campus near Greenbriar Mall.

MILRA is expected to soon acquire the entire post from the Army for about $30 million. Perry’s company would then purchase land at the post, which closed in 2011.

It is unknown what will become of most of the remaining land at the post known colloquially as “Fort Mac.” The VA operates an outpatient clinic there.

Perry is a prolific writer, director, actor and producer who has grown from a struggling playwright who moved to metro Atlanta in the early 1990s into an entertainment mogul. He operates a studio complex on about 60-acres near Greenbriar Mall in southwest Atlanta.

In addition to being a fruitful producer of new shows and films, Perry has been an active real estate investor. He’s acquired more than 1,000 acres in Douglas County, a few miles west of Six Flags Over Georgia, and many have speculated he could build a new studio there.

The talks with Perry come as Reed and the city also are trying to determine future uses for city assets including Turner Field (after the Braves move to Cobb County), the Civic Center and Underground Atlanta.

If negotiations are successful and Perry shifts all or some of his film and television production to Fort McPherson, it could provide an anchor for further redevelopment at the complex.

The Army post has long been envisioned as a potential life-sciences center along with a mixed-use hub of shops, restaurants, offices and residences.

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