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Macauley May Revive Tucker Movie Studio Plan

The developer of a former Sears Roebuck & Co. outlet in Tucker may revive plans to develop a mixed-use project, crowned by a movie studio.

Macauley Investment partners Don Brooks and Stephen Macauley, who have been tapped as master developers of the Fort McPherson redevelopment

Macauley Investments principal Stephen Macauley said his firm is in talks with a new, unidentified film studio operator that could take a facility at the proposed Rise Tucker project. The long-in-gestation development was originally planned in April of last year to redevelop the former Sears facility into a movie studio, but Macauley said that original group “proved not to be real.”

The $300M redevelopment has gone through various iterations as Macauley has attempted to convince Tucker city officials to grant it a rezoning from industrial to mixed-use since last year, each time meeting with some resistance from nearby residents over concerns on traffic and sewer impacts.

Currently, Macauley is proposing more than 190K SF of retail, 88K SF of office and more than 700 housing units on the 88-acre site off Hugh Howell Road, including a grocery store, a brewpub, a food hall concept, a senior living facility and a brand-new proposed Smoke Rise Elementary School, according to the DeKalb Neighbor. The latest plans before the city no longer include a movie studio, the paper reports.

But Macauley said the new party may revive the movie studio plan, although he declined to identify the group during an interview at Bisnow's Atlanta's Southside Rising event on Thursday morning.

When asked if the movie studio was axed due to a lack of demand, he said, “Oh, no. There's demand there for it.”

Current proposal for The Rise Tucker mixed-use project with Macauley Investments

This would be the latest mixed-use dream for Macauley, who was the original partner with The Integral Group at its Assembly project, the redevelopment of the former Doraville GM car plant that just snagged the regional headquarters for Serta Simmons. Third Rail Studios has recently opened its film production studio at that project, some 13 miles away from Macauley's Tucker site.

The developer was also revealed this week to have been tapped by the Fort McPherson LRA — the redevelopment agency for the former U.S. Army base that is now being partially used by Tyler Perry Studios for filming — to be the master developer for the redevelopment project.

The plan calls for a various mix of uses, including retail, affordable- and market-rate housing, arts and entertainment spaces and medical offices situated off Lee Street near the Fort Mac MARTA station. Tyler Perry purchased 330 acres for his movie studio, with the LRA taking 145 acres for its vision.

Among the tenants Macauley plans to pursue at Fort McPherson are video game makers and music industry players, he said. Georgia recently passed a package of incentives aimed at the music industry, including a 15% tax credit for live music or theater performances, according to reports. Macauley said he hopes to attract music studios and other music venue players to the Fort McPherson project with those incentives.