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FDA’s Atlanta lab relocating from Midtown to Fort Mac


The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is relocating its Atlanta operations to Fort McPherson, a former Army base in southwest Atlanta.

The FDA, which is currently located on Peachtree Street in Midtown, will open a new lab and offices at Fort Mac, bringing 350 scientist and staff jobs to the project. 

That opens up a potentially big redevelopment opportunity in Midtown.

It also boosts a massive plan to redevelop the remaining 145 acres of Fort Mac. Tyler Perry Studios already occupies a majority of the former Army base, and now the hope is to remake the remaining property into a mixed-use project for the surrounding community. 

"The time is now for the redevelopment of Fort Mac," said Brian Hooker, executive director of the Fort Mac LRA, the state agency overseeing the rebirth of Fort Mac. "We really had to put together a strong bid to compel [the FDA] to be an early adopter in southwest Atlanta."

The FDA lab will come to the former U.S. Army Forces Command building (FORSCOM) at Fort Mac, a compound once run by Gen. Colin Powell.

Easterly Government Properties Inc. (NYSE: DEA) will buy the Forces Command building from the Fort Mac LRA. Easterly will renovate it and lease it to the FDA. It will house the FDA’s Atlanta lab and office, as well as the Southeast Food and Feed Laboratory and Southeast Tobacco Laboratory, including four labs for nutritional analysis, chemistry, microbiology and tobacco

“The approximately 350 FDA employees and contractors are expected to benefit from the laboratory’s proximity to MARTA,” William C. Trimble III, Easterly’s CEO, said in an announcement. 

There’s more planned for Fort Mac, as Atlanta Business Chronicle reported in April. Atlanta real estate company Macauley Investments LLC is eyeing a roughly 4 million-square-foot project that could bring new housing, retail, office, a hotel and community space. The Fort Mac LRA board still needs to finalize Macauley's master plan. Hooker said the board can't take action until it has two more members, which should happen soon.

Read more here.

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