Background on Installation
Fort Gillem is a 1,427-acre supply depot established in 1941. It consists of 94 buildings, 11 of which are suitable for adaptive reuse by the Local Redevelopment Authority (LRA). The Department of Defense recommended the closure of Fort Gillem under 2005 Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) actions. The Army will retain a 277-acre enclave in the southwestern portion of the base. The City of Forrest Park established the Forest Park/Fort Gillem Implementation Local Redevelopment Authority to complete the redevelopment plan and follow-on implementation activities.
Property Reuse - Disposal
The redevelopment plan calls for a mixed-use redevelopment. Approximately 70 percent of the available property is slated for job-generating uses such as manufacturing, light industrial, warehousing, and commercial office space. Residential, retail, institutional, and recreational uses are planned for the southern portions of the base. The Authority’s Reuse Plan was approved by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) in September 2008 and the installation closed September 15, 2011.
The Authority engaged a master developer early in its planning process. This engagement facilitated a realistic and cost-effective approach and the development of a reuse plan with refinements to be executed by the developer upon base closure. This approach enables the Authority to realistically assess letters of interest from potential tenants and other developers . The composition of the Authority’s Board of Directors has expedited the planning and decision-making process. Many actions require city governing body (Mayor and City Council) approval in the form of an ordinance or resolution to implement. Having two Clayton County Commissioners on the Board of Directors facilitated the process whereby the County Board of Commissioners approved participation in the tax allocation district.
Economic Development Conveyance (EDC) negotiations between the Army and the LRA are on-going. Recent economic development efforts have identified manufacturers that can reuse former Army buildings and significant outdoor space. The Georgia Department of Economic Development is working with the LRA to pursue these opportunities. In addition, other prospective rail-related use could bring vehicle processing facilities to portions of the installation’s Northwest Landfill area.
FFor more information about the challenges the city of Forrest Park faced, click here.