by: Tony Thomas Updated:
GWINNETT COUNTY, Ga. - Metro Atlanta could soon be the home of the nation's
fourth-largest movie studio.
The same man who built Atlantic Station has plans for a $1 billion investment in the OFS Manufacturing plant along Interstate 85 near Jimmy Carter Boulevard.
Jim Jacoby and his company, Jacoby Development, plans to close on the property and have several sound stages in operation by the end of the year.
"Hollywood has said build and we will
come," said developer Jim Jacoby. "I think the renaissance of this area is definitely, the time is right."
Jacoby says he will not tear down any of the 2.5 million square feet of buildings currently on the property, but instead renovate them and build additional structures.
Among the plans are 10 sound stages for major film production, a television production area and two back lots where film producers can shoot outdoor street scenes.
Jacoby plans to use the main front structure of the plant for a film school and dorm room for the students who would attend the school. He also plans on building hundreds of residential units on the south side of the complex.
Along Jimmy Carter, the plans call for a line of retail shops and possibly a five-star hotel.
"We talk about live work and play, but this has the learn component to it, live learn work and
play," Jacoby told Channel 2's Tony Thomas on Friday.
The most noticeable addition to the complex would be three 20-story office buildings planned for the
northeast corner of the property.
The towers would be about the size and patterned after the Wells Fargo building in Atlantic Station.
Jacoby would develop 128 acres of the 165 acre site. OFS manufacturing would remain on a portion of the property.
Business owners around the property are hoping the development will re-energize what has been a struggling Jimmy Carter Boulevard corridor.
"Now we see the light for the coming future," said Shiv Aggarwal. He owns the Global Mall which is just across Jimmy Carter from the project.
"We feel very, very good," Aggarwal said.
The head of the local Community Improvement District agrees.
Chuck Warbington has been working on attracting a big project like this for years.
"The impact is somewhat mind blowing. We see a halo effect, not only on the businesses but also on the residential in the area, where the property values and area will come more in demand," Warbington said.
Jacoby hopes to have the entire project completed within the next five to seven years. He says after closing on the property in April, he can have film crews shooting on seven of the sound stages within three-six months.
He told Thomas he's already had interest from Hollywood production companies who are discussing using the site for more than $100 million worth of projects.
"Fast and Furious 7" and another film are already using some of the complex for filming.