Bishop T.D Jakes is making a historic move in the fight for affordable housing in southwest Atlanta. The mega church pastor, author and philanthropist has won approval to purchase 94.5 acres of the shuttered Fort McPherson Army Base, with the goal of turning it into a sustainable mixed-use community development.
In a statement, T.D. Jakes Real Estate Ventures, LLC said they believe the property can be a vibrant new residential and commercial neighborhood that can create opportunity for those in need.
"By addressing racial and economic disparity gaps, we look forward to engaging, empowering, and strengthening local entrepreneurs and stakeholders in this exciting development venture," said Jakes. "My vision is to develop an oasis within our cities for working families, walking them toward economic viability through financial literacy programs, live-work spaces, mixed income housing and multigenerational options that are so imperative to the betterment of our society."
The purchase is getting bipartisan praise in Georgia.
“This is a real shot in the arm for an important community within the state,” said Georgia’s Republican Governor Brian Kemp. “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 economy.”
“The positive impact will be felt for generations to come,” said Atlanta’s Democratic Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms. “It marks another monumental chapter in the history of Fort Mac.”
Jakes and his real estate firm plan to employ local talent for the project, and say they have already begun talks with business leaders, stakeholders and experts.
"Our development vision will reflect important, inclusive conversations, outreach and input from community members to ensure citizens of Atlanta will have the opportunity for new affordable housing and cultural space right in their ancestral neighborhoods,” said Jakes. “We share in the City of Atlanta's belief that the redevelopment of this fertile neighborhood is critical to the future growth of Atlanta.”
Jakes also has a development project in south Dallas, Texas, called Capella Park. The 400-plus acre neighborhood has a pre-K-8 school and a 64-acre conservation area. He believes real estate is the key to preserving Black history, building generational wealth, and creating grassroots equity.
"My cultural fluency results from having grown up in a community like the Atlanta communities surrounding Fort McPherson,” said Jakes. “In my travels across all of America, I see too many Black and Brown working-class people still falling victim to the continued gentrification of our neighborhoods. I'm extremely excited about the accessible ownership options that will exist for future residents of this multigenerational community. This project will bring solutions to the quality-of-life problems and elevate the lives of the Atlantans that will live, work and play there.”