Who’s behind the planned $2B Forsyth hockey arena and entertainment hub?

Vernon Krause, CEO of an auto dealership empire and philanthropist who funds lung cancer research and programs to feed the homeless and research into lung cancer
Vernon Krause, the CEO is Krause Auto Group, is the sole owner of The Gathering of South Forsyth.

Credit: The Gathering at South Forsyth

Credit: The Gathering at South Forsyth

Vernon Krause, the CEO is Krause Auto Group, is the sole owner of The Gathering of South Forsyth.

The plan to a bring a sprawling $2 billion arena and entertainment complex to Forsyth County is the brainchild of Vernon Krause, CEO of Krause Auto Group.

Krause founded the metro Atlanta-based car dealership business in 1991. What started as Krause Family Ford has since grown to 18 dealerships and more than 1,000 employees in Georgia, Florida, North Carolina and South Carolina.

Krause Auto operates Ford, Lincoln, Hyundai, Genesis and Mercedes-Benz dealerships across the northern metro Atlanta area, as well as MotorCars of Atlanta, which sells exotic brands including Lamborghini, Rolls Royce and Aston Martin.

Krause and his wife Marie are parents of four children. In, 2015, their youngest daughter, Angela Krause Varner, died at 29. Since then, the Krauses have have honored her memory by naming their Alpharetta dealership Angela Krause Ford.

Neighbors, businesses excited about proposed Forsyth Co. arena project

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About three years after her death, Vernon Krause and his wife proposed a 60-acre sports complex in Roswell to honor their daughter. The Angela Krause Tennis, Pickleball and Fitness Center at Big Creek Park was proposed with more than 135 tennis courts, including 80 clay courts and an indoor facility. The project was expected to cost up to $50 million.

But the project was soon called off after an uproar from neighborhood and community groups upset about traffic and the potential loss of wooded trails.

Krause Auto also funds lung cancer research and autism awareness programs, and in 2021, Krause Auto founded Angie’s Kitchen, which provides meals to the homeless and others in need.

It’s unclear if Krause has other investors in the Gathering at South Forsyth project. According to the project’s website, Krause is being advised by several high-profile entities, including sports advisory Stafford Sports, the law firms Greenberg Traurig and Dovin Ficken, planners from the firms of Nelson Worldwide and SCI Architects and the U.S. Sports and Entertainment Development Advisory Practice of the real estate services giant JLL.