Atlanta, Ga. - EUE/Screen Gems has opened a studio complex in the former Lakewood Fairgrounds site near midtown Atlanta. The new studio targets film, television, and digital production communities and commercial agencies in the United States and other countries as potential clients. According to the lease agreement with the City of Atlanta, EUE/Screen Gems can book films and television series in an existing soundstage now. One nationally recognized entertainment brand is currently shooting a film at the facility.
EUE/Screen Gems is undertaking a multi-million dollar phased renovation for the property and is updating five other buildings. They will start construction on a new 37,500-foot sound stage that will be ready in March 2011. Plans include the development of office space, a mill shop, and lighting and grip facilities. The Lakewood site has a film history. It was home to “Smokey and the Bandit” the 1997 film that inspired other trucking films and its own sequels.
This investment represents another bold move for the bullish studio provider who currently houses the “Rachael Ray” show in New York City and offers a 50-acre studio complex in Wilmington, N.C.
“Producers, directors, and studios came to us and asked us to go into Atlanta. We were humbled by that vote of confidence, and we feel strongly about how this investment further extends our offerings,” says Chris Cooney, chief operating officer and co-owner of EUE/Screen Gems. “Through our properties in New York City, Wilmington, and now Atlanta, we provide coastal, rural, and urban settings to our clients, as well as size and infrastructure needed to handle intensive special effects for film, commercial, and gaming needs. This urban location expands our portfolio in a powerful way.”
Cooney says the company was also drawn to the attractive 30 percent tax credit to qualified production and post-production expenditures. The credit is available not only to traditional motion picture projects such as feature films, television series, commercials, and music videos, but also innovative new industries such as game development and animation. In addition to the incentive, the city’s ethnic and cultural diversity in the talent base was a draw as well as the close proximity to the airport and the number of direct flights to Los Angeles and New York.
The expansion into the Lakewood community was widely heralded in the Atlanta press as a source of jobs in a growing, vibrant industry.