Blackhall Studios takes steps toward expansion of south DeKalb facility
What once was a neglected stretch of property on south DeKalb’s Constitution Road continues to increase its presence as part of Georgia’s growing entertainment industry. Blackhall Global Partners, LLC (BGP) recently announced plans for a $250 million investment toward a purpose-built studio facility on its 155-acre parcel adjacent to the current Blackhall Studios. BGP earlier this month filed for permits with the DeKalb County Planning and Sustainability Department.
Blackhall’s current Atlanta studio complex spans nearly 150 acres across two adjacent campuses, according to the Blackhall Studios website. “Productions on a large scale require a studio with the sound stages, mill spaces and office real estate to accommodate full cast, crew and staff,” the website states. “Blackhall has made these amenities front and center.”
Although BGP continues to explore the financial feasibility of the planned expansion, it predicts that the move would enable BGP to meet the high demand for stage space in metro Atlanta that the company said is expected when the entertainment industry fully recovers from the effects of the pandemic. BGP further projected that should the expansion be completed as planned, its total economic impact to DeKalb County will be more than $1 billion with a total employment impact of nearly 5,900 jobs. The company estimated the total economic impact for the state at more than $1.1 billion with a total statewide employment impact of nearly 6,700 jobs.
“We are currently developing large-scale soundstage campuses in three of the world’s most prolific production markets, including here in south DeKalb County,” said BGP managing director of real estate Peter Rumbold. “While we are still in the process of a transformative transition for the current Blackhall Studios property, we are moving forward to deliver over a half million square feet of new filming space with additional warehouse, office, and catering space on our adjacent parcel,” Rumbold, an Emory University graduate, added.
Completion of the project would make south DeKalb County home to the state’s largest movie studio complex, according to Blackhall Studios; however, the construction phase will have an immediate positive effect on DeKalb County and the state, according to Jeff Weber, who is slated to oversee the development. “We’re projecting the total economic impact of construction to be more than $400 million for DeKalb County with a total economic output of more than $500 million statewide,” he said. “Construction activity will support more than 3,200 jobs in DeKalb and nearly 3,700 across the state.”
BGP said the project also will “continue and expand thoughtful community partnerships, including planned internships, job training and other enrichment programs.”
Noting that the Blackhall Studios expansion would bring economic growth opportunities and quality jobs to the county, DeKalb County CEO Michael Thurmond said, “Being home to the largest movie studio complex in the state of Georgia will bring us closer to fulfilling our vision for south DeKalb becoming a creative ecosystem for film and movie production.”
BGP, a global soundstage acquisition and development platform, was formed in partnership with Los Angeles-based Commonwealth Real Estate LP. Ryan Millsap, founder of Blackhall Studios, has expanded the studio’s footprint to other key content production markets, including Georgia, which is now home to dozens of entertainment studios. The Georgia Film, Music & Digital Entertainment Office reports that more than 700 feature films, TV movies, TV series, single episodes, and pilots have been produced in Georgia since 1972.
DeKalb County Commissioner Larry Johnson commented in conjunction with the announcement, “Ryan Millsap and Blackhall Studios helped establish South DeKalb County as a premier location within the film industry. I look forward to working with the team at Blackhall Global Partners to build upon this solid foundation to bring even more investment, jobs and global recognition to DeKalb County.”
BGP officials say they expect the new facility to be completed in the second quarter 2024.