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OFS Plant May Become Site of Atlanta Media Complex

Big changes could be in the works for the Optical Fiber Solutions (OFS) plant located at Interstate 85 and Jimmy Carter Boulevard.

Atlanta developer Jim Jacoby has proposed an adaptive reuse project to turn the site into the largest movie studio campus in the Southeast.

The new “Atlanta Media Complex” would convert most of the plant into at least 7 sound stages with production support space, a film school, housing for students, and, ambitiously, the largest studio backlot in the country, according to the developer.

The studio project is hardly typical for Jacoby, known for more traditional real estate endeavors such as the redevelopment of the Ford Plant in Hapeville, and Atlantic Station. The new project has already faced financing issues in Norcross, but Gwinnett County appears to be looking for a way to help.

As non-traditional revenue sources, developments involving film and TV production can have a more difficult time finding funding from banks and private equity firms than is the case for corporate office developments. Productions book space for only 6 to 12 months, whereas a typical commercial real estate lease can span 10 to 15 years.

Though Gwinnett County has not released details on the OFS project, their involvement in talks has been reported by the Atlanta Business Chronicle. It is possible county commissioners may consider a ground lease agreement similar to the one just reached with Concord Sugarloaf LLC, which allowed the county’s development arm to purchase land and then lease it back to the company. If Gwinnett County does reach an agreement with Jacoby Development Inc., a project of this size will likely attract some interesting economic growth and development potential for the area.

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