Media mogul Tyler Perry and faith leader Bishop T.D. Jakes have been given the green light to proceed with the purchase of 131 acres at Atlanta’s Fort McPherson.
Perry already owns more than 330 acres of the former Army base that houses his state-of-the-art Tyler Perry Studios. Proposals for Perry to purchase an additional 37.5 acres, and for Jakes to purchase 94.5 were approved June 17 by the Fort Mac LRA Board (McPherson Implementing Local Redevelopment Authority). With a finalized sale of the 130+ acres, there will be no remaining unused land at the base.
The “Madea” actor plans to expand his production facility, as well as develop an entertainment district boasting theaters, retail shops and restaurants adjacent to the studios. The megachurch leader plans to develop a separate project through the T.D. Jakes Real Estate Ventures, which develops affordable and workforce housing, as well as programs for underserved communities.
“Today is a good day. I’m grateful for the opportunity this gives Tyler Perry Studios to extend our footprint in Atlanta and create more opportunities for the people of Southwest Atlanta with restaurants, entertainment venues, and other business opportunities,” said Perry said in a released statement.
If the deals go through, hundreds of jobs would be made available to the community, providing a much-needed jolt to the local economy. Georgia’s Gov. Brian Kemp said the development is of the utmost importance.
“Significant job creation such as this will create more opportunities for hardworking Georgians and surrounding small businesses, which are the real backbone of our state’s economy,” said Kemp. Atlanta’s Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms said the deals are yet another “monumental chapter in the history of Fort Mac. … The positive impact will be felt for generations to come.”
Perry is the first African-American actor-writer-producer-director to own a studio with zero partnerships or corporate backing. In 2019 he said he hoped the history-making endeavor would inspire Black children to make their dreams a reality.
“When I built my studio, I built it in a neighborhood that is one of the poorest black neighborhoods in Atlanta so that young black kids can see that a Black man did that and they can do it too,” said Perry while accepting the BET Icon Award.
That same year he hosted a star-studded gala that attracted political figures and the who’s who of the Black entertainment industry. To top the night off, Perry dedicated each of the twelve sound stages on the property to living and past Hollywood legends such as Cicely Tyson, Denzel Washington, and Oprah Winfrey.