The speakers included Miguel Southwell, general manager of Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, Darlene Hawksley, real estate and business engagement director of the Fort McPherson development authority, and Joseph Folz, Porsche Cars North America attorney.
Before an audience of more than 200 attendees in Sandy Springs, they discussed recent investments and developments in the south Fulton area and how these projects will impact each other.
With much of those future projects occurring around the airport, Southwell said upgrades in and around it are in progress.
“We will release a new master plan sometime in this month, but we are looking to build new parking facilities and gates, plus spend about $500 million to modernize our existing terminal, which is about 34 years old,” he said.
Southwell said airport officials are excited that Porsche decided to open its North American headquarters, slated for a December debut, on the south side.
Folz said, “It occurred to us that this location would benefit plenty of companies, but the Atlanta airport area has been an area that people seem to have shied away from.”
He said it is “complex” to develop because of its multiple jurisdictions but the Atlanta Aerotropolis Alliance, established in April, is tackling the issue.
“[The Porsche] site alone involves Fulton and Clayton counties, Atlanta, Hapeville and the Department of Aviation,” Folz said, “but a group of business owners, property owners and officials decided to come around the same table and are trying to make building around the Atlanta airport area an easier choice.”
Fort McPherson in East Point will also be part of redevelopment around the area and has its own plans in the works.
Hawksley addressed reports that filmmaker Tyler Perry is slated to buy part of the land currently owned by the U.S. Department of Defense by saying, “Some say our client, Tyler Perry, goes against what plans were for the area, but the redevelopment guidelines we established are the same and he’s bring the juice needed to jump start redevelopment.”
Hawksley said the west area of the fort is of primary interest to Perry and if negotiations continue as they are today, the fort’s redevelopment authority will retain 144 acres for a planned mixed-use development.
Forrest Robinson with Fort Gillem in Clayton County also spoke.