As Tyler Perry Studios prepares to re-start production, it received clearance Tuesday from a state agency to lease some of its property to create temporary housing.
Perry won’t necessarily need the extra space overseen by the Fort McPherson Implementing Local Redevelopment Authority because he already has plenty of housing available on his own 330 acres.
A Perry spokesperson said the space will be used as a “backstop just in case.”
He is expected to bring back production of shows such as BET’s “Sistas” and “The Oval” though he has not yet announced an exact time frame. Once ready, the studio plans to test all crew, actors and anyone connected with production for the novel coronavirus and once cleared, keep them on his property while shooting.
Perry, who writes all his own scripts and directs all his films and TV shows, is super efficient, so an entire season could be finished in just two to three weeks.
Tyler Perry Studios, which had a grand opening last fall, already has 141 usable barracks and 40 habitable historic homes from the time it was an active Army base. On top of that, Perry also built 30 livable homes.
During production, he plans to provide on-site medical, food and recreation for all staff.
To be clear, Perry does not own all of the former Fort McPherson army base, which closed in 2011. He purchased a majority of the base property in 2015 for $30 million and spent more than $250 million redeveloping that land. His studio now includes a faux trailer park, a working diner, a mansion with four different fronts and a replica of the White House.
He was planning to open the studio for public tours this year but the pandemic has delayed that project.
Perry also has 12 stages, each named after a famous African American Hollywood figure such as Spike Lee, Halle Berry and Cicely Tyson. Typically, he rents out space but that has been on hold since March. His studio hosted the 2019 Miss Universe pageant, an MSNBC Democratic debate, the OWN drama “Ambitions,” AMC’s “The Walking Dead” and syndicated show “Divorce Court.”
About 145 acres of the former base is now controlled by the Fort McPherson LRA, a local government agency created by the state to oversee the redevelopment of that property. An AJC story by Scott Trubey last November said many of the buildings are desolate and unused.
Larry Dingle, Perry’s attorney, said Perry executives “appreciate the speed and the dedication with which the MILRA board responded to the request and their hard work to get this measure passed.”
The agency spokesman Mark Hayes said “the goal of resolution and agreement is to make sure that the talented staff and crews can be housed safely while getting people back to work during this unprecedented financial and health related crisis.”
Other studios in metro Atlanta will be faced with more challenges in terms of sequestering crew because they do not have ready housing the way Perry does.
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