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How Film Industry, Zombies Boost Metro ATL Housing

Welcome back to Property Lines, a column by veteran real estate reporter Alexei Barrionuevo. Each week, Barrionuevo reports on housing trends, real estate deals, and major business moves. Today, Barrionuevo hones in on Atlanta.

For seven months of the year, real estate developer Scott Tigchelaar and his family are just as likely to see zombies roaming the streets of their Senoia, Georgia, neighborhood as they are to see their actual neighbors. But fear not. "When there are 200 zombies standing outside your house, and one of them is having a cigarette and the other is eating a granola bar, it does sort of take the scary factor away," said Tigchelaar, whose family also owns a local film production company.

The zombies are actually actors in the hit AMC series The Walking Dead, which has been filming in Senoia since the show began six seasons ago. In the show, a 15-foot steel fence surrounding the collection of brownstones and single-family homes is supposed to keep the humans safe from the monsters. But is anyone safe from the temptation of Hollywood's deep pockets?

Certainly not those in the Atlanta area and other parts of Georgia, who are reaping the benefits from film and television production incentives that kicked off in earnest in 2008. The incentives have ushered in a wave of film and TV projects, boosting the housing market and even changing the timeline on construction projects, especially in the Atlanta area.
The Walking Dead has made the biggest impact >>