• Movie fees pay for vacant buildings

    By: Tom Regan


    Georgia's Building Authority collected over $250,000 last year in rental fees for vacant buildings and other state owned properties that are used as sets for movies and television production.

    Katy Pando, spokeswoman for the GBA, said one popular location was Pullman Yard, a 100-year-old industrial site that has been vacant for years.

    The property has an assessed value of $12 to $14 million, but the highest purchase offer was less than $4 million.

    While the state holds onto the property until the commercial real estate market rebounds, production companies are eager to use the colorful location as a backdrop.

    A movie studio paid the state more than $60,000 to rent the site for the filming of "Fast and Furious 5." Other productions were also shot at the location.

    The fees collected are being used to offset costs of maintaining vacant properties until the state can sell them or tear them down, said Pando.

    They include the former Georgia Archives Building, the windowlessblock-like structure on Capital Avenue.

    The building was used as a location in the hit Hollywood movie "The Blind Side," starring Sandra Bullock.

    The state intends to demolish the building and turn it into green space. But the project has been delayed because of the estimated $5 million cost.

    Pando gave Channel 2's Tom Regan a tour inside the former Coca-Cola Museum. The four-story building appeared in good shape and had some trappings of the former museum, including the popular fountain-tasting area.

    The state someday hopes to use it to showcase its history.

    The estimated cost of renovation is $24 million. This week, the Georgia house approved a $750,000 budget to begin work on the project.

    "There's a cost association with it, but it's a great location for a state museum," Pando said.


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