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T.D. Jakes Unveils Plans to Build Grocery Stores and More Near Tyler Perry’s Atlanta Studios

T.D. Jakes and Tyler Perry might become official neighbors.

At the 2022 Hope Global Forums in Atlanta, the TV bishop expanded on the plans for land he purchased near Tyler Perry Studios in Atlanta.

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In an ambitious project to create expand the Tyler Perry Studios, turning the filming location into a pseudo Disney World shopping district for Atlantans, Perry and Jakes purchased more than 132 acres of the land back in June 2021.

“It’s one of the biggest film studios in America and it’s the only one created by a singular namesake. Walt and Roy built Disney, four brothers assembled Warner Brothers, several companies collaborated to create Paramount Pictures’ lot. But at Tyler Perry Studios, all roads lead back to Perry,” according to Paramount website. Paramount is the parent company of BET, which airs several of Perry’s original shows.

Right of First Offer

Part of the land was acquired by Perry had been placed under a Right of First Offer (ROFO). A ROFO is a contractual obligation that permits the holder to purchase an asset before the owner tries to sell it to someone else. If the holder is no longer interested in the property, the seller can then sell it to a third party.

Perry offered Jakes the right to buy some of that land.

The land is 488 acres in total and was once a U.S. Army military base, Fort McPherson. This is along with the 330 acres Perry previously purchased for his studio in 2015. The actor and playwright got approved for between 37 and 40 additional acres, on which he plans to develop an entertainment and shopping district with theaters, retail shops, and restaurants. 

“[Tyler Perry] had the ROFO, which means nobody could buy the land without it first being offered to him,” Jakes said to John Hope Bryant during the conference. “I called him on the phone and said, ‘If you give me the ROFO for a certain amount of time and I don’t make it happen, I’ll give it back to you.'”

Jakes’ Plan For His Land

The bishop bought his 94.5 acres through his real estate development company, T.D. Jakes Real Estate Ventures (TDJREV), for $29 million, which is roughly $312,169 per acre, Dallas Business Journal reported.

Jakes claims he realized that the land he bought was located near liquor stores and strip clubs, with no grocery store in sight.

“The neighborhood behind it is stuck between Tyler Perry Studios and Microsoft, and I can’t find a grocery store in miles,” Jakes noted at the recent 2022 Hope Global Forums. “I can’t find a cup of coffee for miles. I can find payday loans places [sic]… they target the impoverished for the desperation they have to have money. You can find liquor stores, you can get a Magnum Gold, you can get strip clubs, you can get a whole lot of stuff, but you cannot get a cup of coffee.”

Although there are in fact coffee shops, at least, within a mile of the Fort McPherson site, Jakes is opting to pursue a project to develop affordable and workforce housing, grocery stores, and CVS pharmacies.

“These things have always existed, but they haven’t been grouped together,” Jakes said.

While he mentioned his plans at the conference, it wasn’t the first time he revealed his intentions for the land.

On Oct. 21., 2021, the stages of Jakes’ master development plans were approved by Fort McPherson LRA Board, followed up with a community engagement meeting that took place on Oct 30, 2021, at the Fort Mac LRA office.

The TDJREV created and introduced a five-part plan in 2021 on how it is going to develop its acquired acreage on the former Fort McPherson Army Base.

In phase one, the plan includes a bungalow area for patients seeking treatment located near the Veterans Affairs hospital. In phase two, there will be the construction of single-family subdivisions, townhomes, apartment complexes, and retail space, and plan the construction of a K-8 school.

The third phase is focused on commercial space, creating room for shops, restaurants, local businesses, and a boutique hotel. The plan also considers creating short-term housing for those visiting out of town and working on projects surrounding Tyler Perry Studios. 

Similar to phase three, the fourth phase is about creating commercial space, but exclusively for corporate businesses interested in office space opportunities near the former base’s entrance.

The last phase is to build a historic cultural district, a workspace for artists, and facilities for senior citizens.

All five phases are said to be amenities and resources not currently available in southwest Atlanta.

Lots of Plans Yet Unrealized

It is unclear how Jakes will finance the redevelopment project, and Jakes has not revealed the cost of the project, Dallas News reported.

“While this is a major step forward, the plan is a work in progress as we continue our dialogue with local stakeholders and residents,” Jakes said. “We remain focused on strengthening communities through affordable housing and by helping people live the American dream through homeownership and the creation of multigenerational wealth.”

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