ATLANTA (WXIA) -- On the eve of the expected announcement of the sale of Fort McPherson to movie mogul Tyler Perry, community activists blasted the deal as being shrouded in secrecy and perhaps not in the best interests of the neighborhoods around the former army base.
"We are not necessarily against a Tyler Perry Deal," State Senator Vincent Fort (D-Atlanta) said. "But we want it to benefit the community. Second, we want the process to be open and transparent."
Senator Fort sent a letter to Secretary of the Army John McHugh describing the deal as "betrayal of the citizens," imploring him not the become "an accomplice to this terrible act of injustice."
Perry is in negotiations with the city to buy roughly 350 acres of the former army base for a reported price of $33-million.
The protesters say the land is being undervalued and they fear the city is squandering an opportunity to redevelop a prime piece of real estate. If the reported price is correct, Perry would be paying roughly $96-thousand per acre. Opponents say compare that to the former GM plants in Doraville and Hapeville who asking prices were three to four times higher.
But proponents of the deal say it will revitalize a tract of land that's sat largely empty and idle since the base closed.
"Friday's vote will hopefully move us closer to the redevelopment of one of Atlanta's most prime pieces of real estate," Atlanta City Councilwoman Joyce Sheperd said in a prepared statement. Sheperd sits on the McPherson Implementing Local Redevelopment Authority – the agency that will have to vote to finalize and accept the deal with Perry.