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TV, movie studio in Covington plans to open in 2017 with 700,000 square feet

David Pendered
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By David Pendered

A new $110 million movie and TV studio for filming and editing productions is moving forward with plans to open in Covington in 2017, according to Georgia planning documents. Evidently, the company sees a great need to keep its cards close to the chest.

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Three Rings Studios is moving forward with plans to build a 700,000 square foot, $110 million facility near Covington. Pinewood Studios Atlanta already has a major facilty at another suburban location, near Fayetteville. Credit: mapquest.com, David Pendered

An entity named Three Rings Studios has submitted the paperwork necessary to begin the review process required to move forward with construction of a 700,000 square foot facility. That’s according to Development of Regional Impact forms the company’s agent submitted Aug. 25, as posted by the state Department of Community Affairs.

Reviews of the proposal have yet to be scheduled by the Northeast Georgia Regional Commission, based in Athens, and GRTA, according to the DRI. The governmental entities will review for compatibility with existing development plans for the 12-county region.

Three Rings Studios, LLC was incorporated March 24. The category where the nature of the industry is cited is completed with the words, “any legal purpose,” according to the articles of incorporation posted on the site of the Georgia Secretary of State. No officers of the company are listed. The agent is listed as Elizabeth Crockett, with a business address on Perimeter Center West, near Perimeter Mall.

The same address is provided for the applicant, Lou Passarella. Passarella is listed on Secretary of State records as the registered agent of two real estate developments firms; both of them provide addresses in Buckhead, Ga. – located between Covington and Lake Oconee.

Given the option of providing a street address, the applicant provided the DRI form with the GPS coordinates: 33°38’21.81″N 83°50’7.80″W. The City of Covington submitted the DRI forms, suggesting that the project is to be built within city limits, not in unincorporated Newton County.

The property owner is listed as the Newton County Development Authority.

studio, cofer brothers

Demand for building materials created by Georgia’s TV and movie industry enabled the long-standing Cofer Brothers, Inc., in Tucker, to survive the collapse of the housing industry during Great Depression, according to Chip Cofer. Credit: georgia.org

Specifics that speak to the size of the project are provided.

It is estimated to generate 518 weekday trips during the afternoon commute. No traffic study has been performed to determine if transportation or access improvements are needed. Immediately after stating no traffic study has been conducted, the form notes that traffic improvements are needed to serve the project:

  • “Required improvements at points of access. Decel and left turn lanes as required by GDOT and City of Covington.”

The development is projected to generate $1.8 million a year in local property and sales taxes, according to the DRI.

In terms of environmental impact, the DRI states the project will use about 23,500 gallons of water a day; no water line extension is needed to serve the project. Wastewater in the amount of 23,500 gallons per day is to be processed by the Newton County Water Authority & City of Covington; sufficient capacity is available to handle the project, according to the DRI. About 3,200 tons of waste are to generated a year, and sufficient landfill space is available.

Although the size of the site is not provided, the DRI states that 35.45 percent of the site will be covered with imperious surface once the project is complete. Stormwater management is to be mitigated through the following measures:

  • “Provided 50 foot stream buffer along all state waters. 40 foot wide undisturbed and enhanced planted buffer along the perimeter of the project. There will be two stormwater detention and water quality ponds.”

Officials determined Aug. 30 that the project warrants review by local and state planners to ensure the project complies with the overall objectives for the region.


David Pendered
David Pendered

David Pendered, Managing Editor, is an Atlanta journalist with more than 30 years experience reporting on the region’s urban affairs, from Atlanta City Hall to the state Capitol. Since 2008, he has written for print and digital publications, and advised on media and governmental affairs. Previously, he spent more than 26 years with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and won awards for his coverage of schools and urban development. David graduated from North Carolina State University and was a Western Knight Center Fellow.


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