Plans are moving forward to bring the Southeast's largest movie studio to a Gwinnett County site that's doubled lately as a graveyard for busted dreams. A Jacoby Development official told Bisnow the firm has hired a veteran studio set scout named Norm Bielowicz to wrangle Hollywood big-timers. Bielowicz is reportedly scouting locations for Dreamworks' next Need For Speed incarnation, and Bisnow reports Jacoby has a major film studio set to temporarily lease space at the Gwinnett site: a 175-acre former home of fiberoptics company OFS at Interstate 85 and Jimmy Carter Boulevard. Jacoby, who developed Atlantic Station, has 100 acres under contract, with plans to open a 400,000 square-foot media studio, a film school and student housing. Over the years, the highly visible (and potentially cursed) site has been envisioned as "Atlanta Station II" and much more.
Flash back to last summer. The proposed redevelopment of the OFS site called for a mega-entertainment complex. The renderings showed a casino with video lottery terminals, 1,500-room, four-star hotel (which would have been the second largest in Georgia), a 5,000-seat performance venue, and a can't-fail restaurant by UGA legend Herschel Walker. Developer Dan O'Leary (he of the Sputtered Underground Atlanta Casino Vision) later lost control of the Norcross property, even as the debate over expanded gambling continued. No dice.
Flash back to 2011. A concept plan (backed by the OFS company) was floated to the Gwinnett Village CID board. That short-lived vision called for a $500 million to $1 billion mixed-use development with gobs of office, retail and residential space — in addition to a towering hotel. Plans called for ringing the development around a central greenspace.
The movie-studio vision seems to have the most traction of all. It would mark the latest of five major studio developments or expansions in Georgia this year. Could we be implementing the infrastructure to make the movie business a permanent Atlanta thing? Should we?
· Gwinnettywood [Bisnow]
· Mixed-Use Plan Presented for Norcross Industrial Site [Norcross Patch]
· Will Norcross Host 'Southeast's Largest Movie Studio'? [Curbed Atlanta]
[Above: Failed entertainment complex rendering via gwinnettforum.com]