Effective November 9, 2005, the Base Closure and Realignment Commission voted to close Fort McPherson, a 488-acre installation located in southwest Atlanta. Closure will occur on September 14, 2011.
Fort McPherson is the seventh largest employer in Atlanta. Fort McPherson directly employs 5,831 individuals on the base and an additional 1,983 jobs are indirectly attributed to the business activities generated from the base and the dollars spent in the community.
The City of East Point that borders Fort McPherson has a low per capita income and suffers high unemployment rates. The per capita income for the one-mile radius ($13,599) is a 55.4%of the national average and less than half the Atlanta MSA average. The one-mile radius median housing value is $68,795 and the bulk of owner-occupied housing (68%) is value between $50,000 and $100,000. Only one percent of housing in the one-mile radius is valued above $200,000. It was predicted that the loss of Fort McPherson would result in an estimated negative impact of $592.8 million to this already economically depressed, predominately minority community.
Needs and Approach
The citizens of Atlanta presented the strongest case possible to retain Fort McPherson. With the decision to close, the “McPherson Planning Local Redevelopment Authority, Inc. (a nonprofit corporation) was formed to reduce the burdens of government and promote the public welfare by assuming of behalf of the Cities of Atlanta and East Point, Fulton County, Georgia the responsibility and authority for planning the reuse and economic development of the real estate and other assets presently comprising Fort McPherson, Georgia.
On September 11, 2007 the MPLRA unanimously approved the HUD Application including the Reuse Plan for Fort McPherson. MPLRA staff worked steadily to complete the necessary documents following Board approval and successfully submitted the full application, including the Land-Use Plan on Friday, September 21, one day prior to the BRAC deadline.
The 127-acre Science and Technology Park will contain 3.5 million square feet of office and lab space and 1,787 units of residential space in a campus-style environment. The “Georgia Institute for Global Health” will be developed in the Park and would focus on the next generation of vaccines and serve at the hub of research and development with spokes to the state’s research universities and their extraordinary scientific talent. The plan also calls for a high-density mixed-use commercial boulevard that runs east-west along the green pathway leading to the event space and then north through the center of the property. This area would become a “Main Street” development with mid-rise residential bulic plazas, street level retail, restaurants, offices and research space. The Historic area around the parade ground will be developed for residential, commercial and public uses under a cultural theme and would include ground level retail, restaurants, office space, galleries and boutique lodging. The exclusive ”Staff Row” homes would be preserved and used for single family residential or other complementary uses. Overall residential use will be a balanced mix of 73 % market rate and high-end housing, 20% affordable housing and less than 7% housing for the formerly homeless or families at-risk of homelessness. The centerpiece of the development will be a Linear Park that wraps around the entire property from MARTA station o MARTA station. This green space will be dominated by old-growth trees, paths, bike trails and a 30-acre event Space, a new home for special events and festivals.
On September 9, 2009 the McPherson Implementing Local Redevelopment Authority (MILRA), a political subdivision of the State of Georgia, was created by executive order of the Governor. Eleven individuals have been appointed by Governor Perdue to serve on the MILRA for a four-year term and additional nine officials will serve on the Board ex officio. The powers of the MILRA are described in the legislation and include the power to purchase, lease, dispose, acquire, hold and otherwise control land acquired from the federal government and to construct, improve, maintain, lease and perform all other develop activities on the property; to borrow money, accept grants, make loans, issue revenue bonds, encourage and facilitate job training and housing rehabilitation programs for surrounding residents and do all things necessary or convenient to carry out the powers expressed given in the act.
The strategy for the creation of the Science and Technology Park requires the submission of an Economic development Conveyance (EDC) Application for the transfer of the entire 488-acre property to the newly created implementing Local Redevelopment Authority. The McPherson Implementing LRA was officially recognized by the Office of Economic Adjustment, on behalf of the Secretary of Defense, as the Local Redevelopment Authority for purposes of implementing the local redevelopment plan for Fort McPherson. HUD will finalize its approval of the Homeless Assistance Application upon completion of all necessary documents.
The MILRA has a strategic plan to gain ownership of the FORSCOM parcel at a nominal cost from the US Army. The critical element for success is the collaboration of the University System of Georgia, the Governor’s Office, the Georgia Research Alliance and other stakeholders to establish the core “anchor” occupancy for future development. The Board of Regents of the USG advanced that effort approving a resolution to create a “world-class research park” at Fort McPherson.
A “Research Park Master Plan and District Conceptual Plan” has been completed and final transfer will call for an agreement to orchestrate the disposition of identified parcels to the Authority. establish development agreements for sale to private developers, provide for value enhancements and homeless accommodation, phasing, environmental cleanup issues, developer selection and enforcement. The Authority is currently monitoring and directing the rezoning of the property by the City of Atlanta’s Bureau of Planning.
Our overall goal is to gain ownership of and direct the redevelopment of the 488-acre former Fort McPherson to create jobs and promote economic development. Our plan is to create a Science Park/Employment Center/Live, Work, Learn and Plan Community containing 3.5 million square feet of labs and office, 1,747 units of residential development and a campus style collaborative environment to house Georgia’s core competencies in vaccines, infectious diseases, neurosciences and other targeted sciences.
Jobs and Revenues
Within the first 10 years of development, 5,o00 jobs will be created generating approximately $12 million in annual state income tax revenues. At built-out, 10,600 jobs will be created and the state will collect $1.8 million in annual on-site sales taxes; $3.5 million per year in property tax revenues and $24 million in annual state income tax revenues.*
*Huntly Associates Estimate, August 2010
Authority Board of Directors
The business of the McPherson Implementing Local Redevelopment Authority is managed by eleven Board Members. Eleven individuals were appointed by Governor Perdue to serve on the MILRA for a four-year term and an additional nine officals serve on the Board ex officio. Mr. Felker Ward, Jr. serves as chairman.
The MILRA Bylaws allow for the establishment of advisory committees. A “Community Engagement Subcommittee” was recently formed and Your Guy for That, Dustin Drabot is a member.