By Georgiana Mihaila, Associate Editor
The master plan for the redevelopment of the Fort McPherson military base, which has been in the works since 2005, is a step closer to reality. According to the Atlanta Business Chronicle, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has approved the plan, and on September 15 the Army will formally transfer the 488-acre site to the city.
The redevelopment aims to become a national model for sustainable urbanism. As Mayor Kasim Reed stated, “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.”
Developed by the McPherson Implementing Local Redevelopment Authority in collaboration with architectural firm HOK; the plan would create mixed-use development containing 3.5 million square feet of office and laboratory space, 1,747 residential units and a research campus focused on developing vaccines, infectious diseases, neurosciences and other sciences. The biotech research complex would encompass 127 acres, 21 of them designated for a clinic operated by the federal Veterans Affairs department.
The decommissioned base is located between downtown Atlanta and Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport. Oakland City MARTA Station to the northeast and Lakewood / Fort McPherson MARTA Station to the southeast provide links to Atlanta and surrounding communities. Forty buildings on the site are listed on the National Registry of Historic Places. These structures would lend character to the development and preserve the legacy of Fort McPherson.
According to an estimate made by Huntley Associates in August 2010, the redevelopment would have a major economic impact. Within the first 10 years of development, 5,000 jobs will be created, generating approximately $12 million in annual state income tax revenues. At full build-out, 10,600 jobs will be created and the state will collect $24 million in income taxes, $3.5 million per year in property taxes, and $1.8 million in sales taxes.