BlueStar will house 600,000 square feet of manufacturing and office space and 18 sound stages ranging from 5,000 to 40,000 square feet. in size. (Rendering courtesy of BlueStar Studios)
BlueStar Studios, a $180 million, 53-acre campus to be built at the former Fort Gillem military post in Forest Park, Georgia, is the latest in a series of projects to meet the state’s booming demand for manufacturing space to be fair.
With film and television studios in short supply everywhere, Georgia’s 30 percent tax credit is a major draw for businesses. In addition, the cost of doing business in the Peach State is lower than in traditional production cities of New York, Los Angeles or Vancouver, which is why BlueStar Studios founder and CEO Rich Goldberg chose the Atlanta suburb as a location.
The former Jaunt and DirecTV executive brought in Georgia native Mark Parkman as BlueStar’s COO, which led the International Olympic Committee’s global content strategy, including the launch of a direct-to-consumer service and broadcast operations for 12 Olympic Games.
BlueStar will house 600,000 square feet of manufacturing and office space and 18 sound stages ranging from 5,000 to 40,000 square feet. in size. Fort Gillem’s historic Main Building will serve as the heart of the campus and will be located in the greater Atlanta area, 20 minutes from the airport and 10 minutes from downtown.
According to Deadline.com, an entertainment industry news source, it is scheduled to open next summer, with construction and development continuing in phases through 2024. Atlanta-based Gala Media Capital, a division of Peachtree Group, provided financing for the first phase of construction. Offices are available for rent, Goldberg said, adding the hope is finding a streamer or studio anchor tenant.
BlueStar Complex Latest New Studio
Deadline.com reported that a surge in content creation in recent years with the advent of streaming has resulted in a bottleneck in available soundstages. Private equity firms, real estate developers in partnership with executives, studios and financiers have all entered the mix.
Netflix has expanded, including a recent bid to build a new studio in Fort Monmouth, New Jersey. Among other construction or expansion sites around the country are Robert Halmi’s Great Point and Lionsgate Studios, Shadowbox Studios (formerly Atlanta-based Blackhall Studios), and Steiner Studios in New York. Trilith, formerly Pinewood Studios Atlanta, has developed an entire city around its complex.
Goldberg noted that productions will have access to two 100GB crossing fiber optic lines to meet all technical needs, including cloud services and virtual production.
“It means that in the unlikely event that one fails, they would have the second. Engineers love the word redundancy,” he explained. “So many producers are based in New York and Los Angeles, and the editing and special effects are done remotely. If you have a fiber optic line, you can send it immediately [either location].”
The BlueStar Studios campus includes six historic buildings that are being repurposed to ensure preservation of the former Army base’s architectural heritage and contribute to the project’s sustainability as part of an environmental review process with the Historic Preservation Division of the Georgia Department of Community Affairs.
Final design elements include rehabilitated steel windows and brick walls, restored painted signs, and new windows and doors created based on archival photos and original drawings.
BlueStar currently has 45,000 square feet of wood and metal fabrication buildings for the mill and cloakroom, a nature trail, an on-site cafe and a dog run. According to Deadline.com, the campus has retained much of its original 1940s architecture.
“Fort Gillem has long been a significant presence in our community, so we are thrilled to see such transformative development through this significant investment,” said Angelyne Butler, Mayor of Forest Park.
“BlueStar Studios maintains the charm and history of the area while also bringing new production opportunities and boosting our local economy. We look forward to welcoming productions and their highly skilled professionals to Forest Park.”