by: Steve Gehlbach Updated:
DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. - Major motion pictures will soon be filming inside the perimeter at a new complex in southwest DeKalb County.
Blackhall Studios will open in a few weeks and already has a big blockbuster lined up to start filming in March.
The $70 million facility is on Constitution Road, about a mile from the Starlight Drive-In and not far from Interstate 285 and Bouldercrest Road.
“We built this specific to their needs to make major pictures,” said Blackhall Studios Chairman Ryan Millsap, who gave Channel 2 Action News an exclusive first look inside as work is finishing up.
The former paint and wallcovering warehouse, originally on a site next to the old Metro State Prison, has been converted to store lighting equipment. An additional nine soundstages have been built on the property since last summer. That includes a massive 40,000 square foot stage, one 30,000 square feet, and seven more 20,000 square foot stages.
“We needed a huge amount of land and got about 80 acres total,” Millsap said.
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It’s the first of its kind inside the perimeter and rivals the size of Pinewood Atlanta Studios when it opened south of the metro.
The location gives Blackhall Studios access to Atlanta’s creative class and the professionals that will work there daily, which is expected to be around 600 people.
“From Midtown to Decatur and in between you can drive here in 12 different routes without getting on a freeway and be here in 15 minutes," Millsap said.
DeKalb County Commissioner Larry Johnson represents the area and sees Blackhall as a catalyst for improvement in the community.
“You see in oth er areas when studios of this magnitude come, start to get hotels, restaurants…all those things become accessible to this area,” Johnson said.
Blackhall gives credit to the state’s offer of incentives for the movie industry to film here, which has created $7 billion in economic impact in the last year.
“In Hollywood, people are planning their schedules around when they can make a movie in Georgia because of the tax credit,” Millsap said.
The studios could not comment on the first feature film to start shooting in March, but said it’s a movie with stars that everyone will easily recognize.
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