Stonecrest approves annexation for movie studio campus development

This is a 3D rendering of Stonecrest Studios.

Credit: City of Stonecrest

Credit: City of Stonecrest

This is a 3D rendering of Stonecrest Studios.

Stonecrest just got 19 acres larger as the city aims to increase its footprint in film and television production.

The City Council unanimously approved the annexation request during its Monday meeting, paving the way for the development of Stonecrest Studios. The movie studio campus, owned and developed by Shaw DeKalb Properties, will include five sound stages and other film production spaces that span more than 150,000 square feet.

It’s a large expansion into film production for a young city that’s recently made a push to attract entertainment industries. Last fall, the city created a film and entertainment commission to make their intentions clear.

The name of the studio is “a great opportunity to bring greater notoriety to the city,” Michele Battle, an attorney representing Shaw DeKalb Properties, said during the meeting.

The company already owns a vacant office building on the property, located off Miller Road, which has been transformed into an impromptu film space amid the pandemic. The global headquarters of Almex, a manufacturing company, has been vacant since the COVID-19 shutdown in 2020.

The land is zoned for light industrial use, and a 75-foot buffer would be preserved between nearby homes and the studio site. There were no public comments opposing the annexation request.

Battle also touted that “Steel Magnolias,” a romantic comedy series on Netflix, was filmed next to the 19-acre plot at a neighboring studio, NuGrounds Studios, which annexed into Stonecrest last April. Timothy Shaw, a Shaw DeKalb representative, said during a previous Stonecrest Planning Commission meeting that his company is in negotiations to acquire NuGrounds Studios to fold into the larger Stonecrest Studios project.

Battle said the studio campus would cater to smaller productions for streaming services rather than blockbuster productions.

“Their fear is that they get lost when they go over to the larger studios,” Battle said of companies like Netflix and Amazon Prime.

The developer did not include a timeline for when the full Stonecrest Studios campus is expected to be completed.