Bouckaert Farm boasts 10 miles of river frontage along the Chattahoochee.
Bouckaert Farm has portrayed the rolling hills of Wakanda in Black Panther and the setting for Tony Stark’s lakeside funeral in Avengers: Endgame. But the Chattahoochee Hills property is not some fantastical world—though it certainly feels like an escape. Soon, Atlantans will be able to experience the allure of this popular film and music festival site and full-time equestrian event facility in person, with plans for transforming the pastoral paradise into a premier destination well underway.
Rustic barn doors, exposed beams and heart pine floors characterize the main hall of the HorseMansion, which opens as a wedding and event venue this year
Located just 20 minutes southwest of Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, the massive stretch of farmland has been nurtured for several decades by a team led by Carl Bouckaert, a Belgium native and Olympic equestrian. The Bouckaerts discovered the property in 1988 and were instantly attracted to its natural beauty and its value. They continued to buy more and more of the land, ultimately amassing over 8,000 acres, with 10 miles of river frontage along the Chattahoochee making it especially desirable. The family knew their acquisition would be valuable to the community one day, and recall discussing the possibilities with farmers and other prominent landowners in the area. “We came up with an interesting vision for what we want Chattahoochee Hills to be—a destination of live, work, play with lots of green space rather than just more urban sprawl,” Bouckaert shares.
Given that its owner was an Olympic equestrian, the Chattahoochee Hills property regularly hosts international horse competitions
To achieve this ideal, the Bouckaert Farm management team began meeting with planners to conceptualize a vibrant mixed-use community on the picturesque property that would be made up of commercial and residential spaces, and anchored by a luxury resort. “Everybody can’t believe when they get introduced to the property that there are 8,000 acres and a green-field situation like this so close to the Atlanta airport—so close to, frankly, downtown Atlanta. And it’s beautiful,” says Charles Adams, senior director of development for the property and a former vice president for Walt Disney Imagineering. “So far, we’re not having too hard of a time finding people who are interested in joining the party, and that’s exciting.” More immediately, the on-site HorseMansion (@horsemansion), a regal-meets-rustic building with exposed beams and stunning chandeliers, is set to become Atlanta’s newest in-demand venue for weddings, corporate functions and charity events. Grady Health Foundation’s VeloCity ride/run/walk event is already scheduled for May 1, the first organized event to be held there.
For those drawn to the bucolic scenery that Bouckaert Farm offers, “One of the things we’re looking at is the creation of a group of ‘farmettes,’” says Bouckaert. “This will be an incredible escape for many Atlantans who are looking for peace and nature within the metropolitan area.” The plots of land will range in size from 10 acres to 100 acres each, and will be available for anyone to purchase. Adds Adams, “They’ll be able to certainly build a home, but they might also have a farm; they might have some paddocks for some horses because I expect there’s going to be folks who are attracted to all of the equestrian events that go on. But it’s also for the person who just wants to grow their own meals in their backyard and benefit from being really close to a lot of things in Atlanta but feeling like they’re a world away.”
The HorseMansion’s hilltop setting offers a sentinel’s view of the lush rural landscape.
The options for its use are seemingly as endless as the property itself, but what’s certain is that the future of the farm involves preserving its rural heritage while sharing it with as many people as possible. “The key to having full satisfaction of something special is to be able to share it; otherwise, it means nothing,” says Bouckaert. “There is just an incredible satisfaction to feeling that one is able to create nice experiences in other people’s lives, and that is what we’re after.”
Photography by: Horsemansion exterior photo by Liz Crawley Photography ; all other photos courtesy of BOUCKAERT FARM