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Fort Mac redevelopment leader’s departure adds questions to project’s future

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Meanwhile, film mogul Tyler Perry is considering buying more of the former Army base

a rendering of part of the development
The nearly 500-acre ex-Army base could be transformed into a diverse mixed-use community.
Fort Mac LRA

The leader of the state agency formed to oversee the transformation of a massive piece of Southwest Atlanta’s former Army base Fort McPherson has stepped down from his post, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Brian Hooker, Fort Mac Local Redevelopment Authority executive director, officially resigned Wednesday. His departure comes amid concerns that plans for revamping 145 acres of the ex-military base—the land not owned by film mogul Tyler Perry—could be in jeopardy, due to disagreements between the agency and the project’s master developer, Macauley Investments.

Macauley, led by principal Stephen Macauley, was enlisted as the master developer in 2017, but the firm has reportedly been butting heads with the LRA in recent months.

The AJC’s report indicates there may have been some racially charged animosity between the LRA—Hooker is black, and the Southwest Atlanta area has a historically black population—and Macauley, who said other project officials believed he was “coddled” because he’s white.

Hooker had helmed the LRA since 2014, and his departure means the agency is on the hunt for a replacement to supervise what could become a $700 million mixed-use community.

Invest Atlanta executive Alan Ferguson has been tapped as the LRA’s interim director, according to the AJC.

Last week, reports indicated that Perry, who owns the lion’s share of the nearly 500-acre site, is interested in scooping up more of the property—perhaps the rest of it.

Macauley, who was supposedly caught off guard to learn that Perry was kicking the proverbial tires of the Fort Mac land he doesn’t own, told Curbed Atlanta in May that construction of the massive project could have begun this month or in early August.

Now, however, it’s unclear when Southwest Atlantans will begin to see changes at the property.

Redevelopment plans held the promise of finally making the site both public-accessible and appealing to neighbors and others across Atlanta. The $25 million Phase 1 alone, which would span roughly 24 acres, was set to include a mix of residences, retail, arts spaces, and more.

Macauley told Curbed in May he’d engaged “some of the best-in-class developers in Atlanta” to tackle specific facets of the project.

The LRA board is scheduled to meet next on August 8.