September 8, 2011
Contact: Sonya Moste, Director of Public Relations
Contact: Darlene Hawksley, Director of Real Estate & Business Engagement
Master Plan Approved for Military Base Redevelopment in Atlanta
Science and Technology Center for Collaboration Moves Closer to Reality
ATLANTA — The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development last week approved the master plan for the reuse of Fort McPherson, a military base located in the city of Atlanta scheduled to close this month. Upon closing, the 488-acre site will transfer from federal to city jurisdiction. In addition, the McPherson Implementing Local Redevelopment Authority, Inc. (MILRA) will begin seeking opportunities for private or joint development on the site upon reaching an agreement with the U.S. Army, estimated to occur this summer.
Located halfway between the world’s busiest passenger airport, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, and downtown Atlanta, the site is flanked by two public transit stations and offers excellent transit- oriented development opportunities.
“While the purposes of this unique property will change from military to civilian, one thing won’t: its value as a tremendous asset for economic development in the state,” said Georgia Governor Nathan Deal. “We believe the size of the site and its proximity to transportation – a major airport, interstates and MARTA – lends itself to a wide variety of uses and makes it very attractive to potential investors.”
After considerable public and community input, the master plan was completed by MILRA with design assistance from HOK, a global architectural firm, in December 2010. Core elements of the plan include the preservation of 40 existing historic structures, the addition of 1,780 new residential units and a 30-acre event/festival space.
“Our plans call for the Fort McPherson site to become a national model for sustainable urbanism,” said Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed. “All developers interested in participating in this opportunity must commit to design principles that bring long-term environmental, economic and social sustainability to the development and surrounding communities.”
The site will include 21 acres for a Veterans Affairs clinic and 153 acres for green space. Three commercial buildings, previously used by the Army, offer more than 750,000 square feet of space available for occupancy as early as fall 2011. The remaining 314 acres will be available for sale to private developers or to be joint-ventured, making this one of the single largest redevelopment opportunities in any U.S. metropolitan city.
The site plan also includes the development of a science and technology center,a 127-acre district dedicated to research and innovation in the life sciences that leverages Atlanta’s strengths in the areas of vaccines, infectious disease and neuroscience. The concept, developed in collaboration with the University System of Georgia, the Governor’s Office, the Georgia Research Alliance and others, is expected to create 3.5 million square feet of lab, office, medical and conference space.
“This site is unique in the state,” said Chris Cummiskey, Commissioner of the Georgia Department of Economic Development. “There are a lot of growing life sciences companies for whom this location is perfect, and we intend to make sure they know about the incredible opportunities it presents.”
“Establishing a bioscience research institute at Fort McPherson that builds on the strength of Atlanta’s world class research universities, hospitals, private sector life sciences community, Veteran’s Affairs Medical Center and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has the potential to differentiate Georgia from the rest of the nation and catapult our state into position as a global leader of 21st century medical innovation,” said Georgia Bio President Charles Craig.
“Atlanta currently lacks enough quality sites and facilities for life science companies at all stages of development,” said Mike Cassidy, president of the Georgia Research Alliance. “This approach offers a more strategic solution to ensure space is available for research and development in the future and builds a bridge between Atlanta’s research universities and the private sector.”
According to MILRA Chairman Felker Ward, “the Science and Technology Center will form an opportunity or magnet for pharmaceutical companies and start-up incubator companies in the healthcare research and development field.”
Darlene Hawksley, director of real estate and business engagement for MILRA, is already actively marketing the site and hopes to announce the first tenant in the redeveloped Fort McPherson this Fall.
Since Fort McPherson is part of the Campbellton Road Tax Allocation District, the City of Atlanta and Fulton County have committed future tax increment to attract developers to the area. In addition, the City of Atlanta recently applied for the entire area to be designated as an Opportunity Zone, which would provide employers who create two or more jobs in the district with significant income tax credits of up to $3,500 per employee per year for a maximum of five years.
ABOUT MCPHERSON IMPLEMENTING LOCAL REDEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY
The McPherson Implementing Local Redevelopment Authority, Inc., is responsible for implementing the reuse of a 488-acre former military base site in southwest Atlanta. MILRA will control and manage the site and sell parcels for private development or joint venture in accordance with the approved master plan. Board members of the Authority include representatives from the City of Atlanta, City of East Point, Fulton County and the State of Georgia. The U.S. Army’s Base Closure and Realignment Commission voted to close Fort McPherson in 2005. Visit www.mcphersonredevelopment.com to download a copy of the master plan.