Nestled in gorgeous Chattahoochee Hills and just 15-minutes away from the world’s busiest airport you’ll find CHACE Village, a fun, relaxing and inspirational sanctuary for creatives to come and visit.
Founded by Atlanta creative and place-making expert, Tyree Smith and the WOLF Ideas Group, CHACE Village is beautifully wooded 73-acres of land with a fully stocked 5-acre lake and a Bed and Breakfast space. You’ll even see their two goats, Keith and Alan roaming around when you arrive.
Their mission, to become a center of resources while intentionally building sustainable safe spaces that the City of Atlanta’s creatives cannot just exist in, but thrive in.
“CHACE Village is an experiment in place making and the activation of spaces. CHACE stands for Chattahoochee Hills Arts and Culture Ecosystem Village. We’re a community in the middle of wooded nature. My goal is to build a space for creatives equivalent of Silicon Valley. A place to get away from the city and unwind. We’ve converted this house into an art gallery and bed and breakfast for those reasons,” said Smith.
Smith, a father originally from New Jersey calls Atlanta home, a city where he has resided for 20 years. He is no stranger when it comes to creating safe spaces for local Atlanta creatives. He has leveraged his many years of diverse expertise throughout his creative journey to bring CHACE Village to fruition.
“Early on in my career, I became a tattoo artist for Infamous Tattoos, thats where I really started getting more into the art scene and being creative. I became the first person to host parties on Peters Street which eventually turned the creative Peters Street and Castleberry Hill community into what it is now. I did all of these great things for others businesses and wanted to create a business of my own,” Smith said, I saved all of my money from events and opened a space called the ArtLanta Gallery. It started doing so well that people came to me to run initiatives on the acres at Fort McPherson and in the Oakland City area to create artistic spaces for creatives.
“I went to class called the Regional Leadership Institute. I built a bunch of relationships including the MARTA Art Council. A lot of people attend such as the mayor and other industry leaders, they come together to discuss issues in Atlanta and figure out solutions to these issues. One of the biggest problems in Atlanta is creative artist retention,” Smith said.
Creating a safe space for creatives is CHACE Village’s mission, however, they are also doing their due diligence in providing beneficial life resources and bringing them to the forefront for creatives to take advantage of.
“We’re creative arts first. But we do have a bunch of programs like financial literacy, proposal prep classes, homeowners classes and other tools for creatives to be successful long term. Creatives can also find out about grants they may not have known about. This is important because there’s a huge disconnect when it comes to creatives not knowing about grants that are available to them. I want to be the intermediate that connects the two,” Smith said.
CHACE Village’s house, built in 1983, displays Japanese design inspiration throughout the exterior. It boasts 3 bedrooms, 2 baths and 1 office/den area with a home gallery located in the basement. Opportunities to rent the house are also available on websites such as Air BnB.
Furthermore, CHACE Village makes land preservation a priority and invites guests to come enjoy all of the wonders nature has to offer, including fun activities on their lake such as fishing. One of their end goals is to eventually create a drive-in on the lake where guests can watch movies on a giant inflatable movie screen projector surrounded by trees and stars.
“We have paddle boating and nature trails throughout the property for guests to enjoy. One event we offer called BYOT, which stands for Bring Your Own Tent, is a camping event to introduce creatives to a different type of living. We have several art shows and every second Sunday of the month we have Hooked on Sundays where you can fish. We also have 3 campsites that feature fire pits,” Smith said.
CHACE Village is snatching the attention of not only creatives everywhere, but television executives as well. Black Ink Crew New York recently filmed on location and with such a positive experience for the castmates and CHACE, Smith is completely open for other filming projects and rentals.
“The exposure from Black Ink Crew New York has done wonders. Our website has improved 150%. Puma, a cast member on the show, is actually one of our partners,” Smith said.
With so many scenic options to choose from around the state of Georgia, Smith ultimately was sold on the beautifully wooded landscape in the Chattahoochee Hills because of its proximity to the city.
“Going back to the talent retention issue, 6 years ago I was on Twitter looking for land in Toomsboro, Georgia. I decided to stop because I realized I going to be taking talent away from Atlanta with Toomsboro’s hour and 45-minute commute away from Atlanta. I found this land and the owner worked with me and my plan of what I wanted to do with the land. Chattahoochee Hills is still considered Atlanta and is still Fulton County, being here was important,” Smith said.
“I am looking to acquire more land in the Chattahoochee Hills area. I don’t plan on leaving Georgia with CHACE. I would contract it out to help someone else in their own town but CHACE is Atlanta and I’m not taking that anywhere else,” Smith said.
Moreover, August 14, 2021 marked the first anniversary of CHACE Village, however, the COVID-19 pandemic took a big effect on CHACE, complicating its beginning stages.
“It was December 2019 when we were first trying to gain investors. In February 2020 we were supposed to move in but the world froze. I had to get a partner and investor to help me secure the property. This is our new normal but CHACE is social distancing at its best, there’s nothing but space. We have smaller events now and there are a bunch of other pivots but we get through it. People who come out of these situations where crisis happen and they stay on top of their business, come out on top,” Smith said.
With the rise of the COVID-19 Delta Variant, health and safety protocols are paramount for any business, its employees and its consumers.
“One of the biggest things we’ve done is one of my partners, C. Ross, and I became COVID-19 compliant officers. We enforce social distancing, temperature checks and enforce masks when there are more than 5 people in the house. With every event, C. Ross makes sure everything is clean, wiped down and sprayed,” Smith said.
This year is quickly coming to an end with 2022 is just 4 months away, CHACE Village has exciting and innovative plans in its future for the remainder of the year and into the new year.
“The rest of this year is about fundraising and bringing awareness of the property. Next year we will offer more activations and programs dealing with grant writing and financial literacy. We also plan to have our first treehouse up and a 5-acre farm up and running. There is only 1 percent of farmable land that is Black-owned so we are going to change that narrative,” Smith said, Black ownership is super important but it’s also about inclusivity. CHACE is not Black only but it is Black-led. This is for Atlanta, the creatives in Atlanta and being apart of creating a greater narrative.
“I couldn’t do it without my team, this is not a one-person type of project. Tom Reid, the Mayor of Chattahoochee, has been super supportive of what we’re doing at CHACE as well, he’s even visited several times. He believes leadership and that relationship with the creatives is important,” Smith said.