- Associated Press - Friday, August 8, 2014

ATLANTA (AP) - A civilian agency overseeing the redevelopment of an old military base has approved a tentative sale of about two-thirds of the property to filmmaker Tyler Perry so he can build a studio.

Perry plans to acquire 330 acres at the Fort McPherson site for $30 million and build up to 16 sound stages for the film studio, according to Atlanta city officials. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports the U.S. Army still must sign off on any deal.

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed said in a statement that the development “will attract robust additional investment into the Southside of our city.”

The city said the project could relocate 350 permanent jobs and produce more than 8,000 new jobs.

“It will also expand Atlanta’s footprint in television and film as well as strengthen our position as the cultural and economic center of the Southeast,” Reed said.

Residents have called for more transparency. During a news conference Thursday, they said they have been shut out of the decision-making process. Many worked for years on plans to remake the closed fort into a life science and technology park. They questioned whether Perry’s proposal was the best option.

“That is our concern - whether this is a good deal for our community,” said Allean Brown, a Cascade Heights resident.

Dianese Howard, who sits on a subcommittee of community leaders for the fort’s redevelopment authority, said those closest to the redevelopment process were surprised by the proposal to sell to Perry.

“….How can you keep people out of the process in the neighborhood who worked on your behalf?” she said.

State Sen. Vincent Fort, D-Atlanta, criticized Atlanta’s mayor for negotiating the deal without the knowledge of community members.

Reed has said no other serious buyers have emerged despite years of planning.

“We’ve now been at this seven years, so for all of the planning that folks have discussed, no one has ever come up to Fort McPherson for anything,” Reed said in June. “None of that has happened and no one has ever put up a dime.”

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Information from: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, https://www.ajc.com

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