A massive Douglas County property once slated for more than 1,300 residences has been sold to a company with apparent ties to entertainment mogul Tyler Perry.
The company, ETPC Company LLC, acquired 856 acres about eight miles southwest of Six Flags Over Georgia. The property is just south of Sweetwater Creek State Park and I-20.
What plans Perry might have for the property are unclear, but the parcel is far larger than the site of his production studio in southwest Atlanta near I-285 and Greenbriar Mall.
A publicist for Perry did not immediately return messages seeking comment. Douglas County and Douglasville officials have not returned messages either.
But the movie maker’s name has been bouncing around the Facebook message board of a nearby community, Tributary at New Manchester.
Sweetwater Creek State Park and the Tributary community are a hub of activity for families and haven for nature lovers, said Richard Segal, a resident of the neighborhood since 2006.
Tributary and Douglas County have been featured in films and TV before, including 2010’s “Killers” starring Ashton Kutcher.
“We’re no stranger to having Hollywood with us,” Segal said, adding that Perry would “fit right in.”
Perry, an actor, movie and TV producer and director famous for projects including his Madea film series, has also been a real estate investor.
He has recently taken on more work, including a partnership with Oprah Winfrey in her OWN cable channel, and a starring role in the 2012 film “Alex Cross,” based on the protagonist in several James Patterson novels.
The Douglasville property was once slated for a development called the Villages at Riverview and is about 20 miles west of downtown Atlanta. It is zoned for mixed-use development, and the original plans called for 1,095 houses, 325 townhouses and 14 acres of commercial space, according to marketing material on the property.
The original project stalled, and the acreage was ordered to be liquidated under the terms of a bankruptcy. The property was appraised at one point for more than $20 million. ETPC Company acquired it for $5.4 million.
ETPC Company shares the same principal office address and suite number of Tyler Perry Studios LLC and Tyler Perry Studios Casting on 10th Street in west Midtown, according to documents on the Secretary of State and Georgia Department of Economic Development websites.
Perry’s southwest Atlanta studio opened in 2008 and includes five sound stages, a 400-seat theater and post-production facilities, according to its website.
Barbara Laughlin, an executive with the Tributary community, said she had no knowledge of the land sale, but she hopes that whatever comes there benefits local restaurants and merchants.
The neighborhood has “a little city feel without the traffic or crime” of a larger city, she said. “It’s kinda groovy.”
Bull Realty represented a bankruptcy trust for the Douglasville land sale.
Rob Whitmire, a senior vice president with Bull Realty, said he could not confirm nor deny any connection to Perry. Perry was not involved in any negotiations, and representatives of the buyer did not discuss any potential plans for the site or say who the members of the purchasing company were.
The agent for the buyer declined to comment.
News of the land purchase follows reporting this week by the Savannah Morning News that Medient Studios, an independent film company, wants to construct a studio in Effingham County along I-16 near Savannah. The $90 million project, if approved by local authorities, would include a production facility for movies and video games.
Last month, a group of metro Atlanta investors submitted a plan to build a massive film complex in northern Fayette County. The group, Rivers Rock LLC, said it was in talks with London’s famed Pinewood Studios Group to run the complex.
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