With the hungry maw of streaming subscriptions requiring a steady flow of content year-round, we’ve seen a huge push to develop, redevelop, and expand soundstage and studio space in a vast variety of locations, both domestic and international. Now we see Forest Park, GA, get its own share of the filming space pie with a new development, BlueStar Studios, now unveiled. Entertainment attorney and industry expert, Brandon Blake, of Blake & Wang P.A, digs deeper into the details for us.
Appealing Tax Credits
While the demand for studio space is high across the country as well as globally, Georgia has proven to be a particularly appealing area for production due to the generous 30% tax credits on offer. Additionally, it has a lower cost of doing business than many key traditional filming locations, including Vancouver as well as Los Angeles and New York.
BlueStar Studios will be a 53-acre and $180 million project for the area. It will offer 600,000 sqft of production and office space, with 18 available sound stages ranging from 40,000 sqft to 5,000 sq ft. Additionally, there will be 45,000 sqft of mil and wardrobe space. They are also making provision for virtual production and cloud services for the industry, a feature becoming essential as production techniques go ever more digital. Quirkily, there will also be a dog run and nature trail on offer. Six historic buildings, obviously repurposed, will be included in the development. The location will place it within a 20 min drive from the airport and 10 min from the downtown area, in the Atlanta metro area.
Intriguingly, unlike many of the recently announced construction plans- including a major one for Netflix in New Jersey- BlueStar Studios is anticipated to open its doors by summer 2023. Partially, at least, as construction will continue through to 2024. Gala Media Capital, a subdivision of Peachtree Group, is providing the financing.
While the office spaces will be put up for lease, it is clear that they’re hoping to find a permanent anchor tenant to boost their profile, be it studio or streamer. They will likely find one, too. We’ve seen everything from real estate moguls to private equity firms move into the sound stage development space this year, hoping to capitalize on the demand for more available sound stages as production becomes a year-round event. Interestingly, we’ve also seen more and more entities, streamers particularly, take long-term leases on studio space for the same reason. It pays to have a ‘permanent’ or near-permanent local to keep production clean and swift, and it does seem like there’s an industry-wide drift away from the idea of taking sound stage space for single projects. BlueStar Studios is certainly an interesting example of the new technology-focused production spaces we’re seeing conceptualized and planned. While Fort Gillem already has some traction as a shoot location, the new development will doubtless give it, and the surrounding economic area, a nice boost that should make it a solid location choice, especially paired with those attractive tax write off opportunities. Undoubtedly we will see even more new developments in this arena over the next financial year, too.