Further south lies the campus of Millsap’s former film studio. The facility now known as Shadowbox Studios is planning a massive expansion on yet another piece of nearby property.
The various situations are complicated and tensions are high. It’s hard to keep track of who has say-so over what happens, and where. Plans and parcels and bigger picture issues get conflated.
Here’s an explainer of the properties in question.
The training center site: 561 Key Road
- 300 acres of forested land located in southwestern DeKalb County but owned by the city of Atlanta.
- Former site of a prison farm. Currently hosts some police training activities, including a firing range.
- Leased in Sept. 2021 to the Atlanta Police Foundation, which plans to build a $90 million public safety training center across roughly 85 acres.
- DeKalb County has no real say-so in what happens on the site, outside of approving the necessary land disturbance permits.
- As of Aug. 8, those permits were still pending.
- Self-dubbed “forest defenders” have taken up residence for months to protest the plan, sometimes in extreme or violent ways
The land swap property: 3251 West Side Place
- 40 forested acres on the northwest corner of Constitution Road and West Side Place.
- Longtime home for Intrenchment Creek Park’s South River Trailhead.
- Obtained by Blackhall Real Estate Phase II LLC and Ryan Millsap, the founder of Blackhall Studios, in a 2021 land swap with DeKalb County. County received three parcels further north that it plans to use to create a more contiguous Michelle Obama Park.
- While the swap was finalized, it’s also the subject of a lawsuit filed by the South River Watershed Alliance and the South River Forest Coalition.
- Millsap obtained the property in order to develop it, but his current plans are unclear.
- Millsap sold Blackhall Studios, which has an existing campus south of Constitution Road, to a private equity firm in April 2021.
- “Forest defenders” have targeted this property too
The actual movie studio: 1415 Constitution Road
- Existing campus of Shadowbox Studios, formerly known as Blackhall Studios.
- Has operated since 2017.
- Now owned by Commonwealth Asset Management, a Los Angeles-based equity firm.
- Operates nine sound studios for film and TV production
- Has plans for big expansion on nearby property
The Shadowbox expansion site: 3600 International Park Drive
- 155 undeveloped acres south of the existing Shadowbox campus
- The studio is planning a massive expansion that would make it the largest film production site in Georgia
- Officials say it also would mark the largest-ever investment in southern DeKalb County
- The Decide DeKalb Development Authority approved in April a hefty incentives package that includes a conventional $34 million tax break in addition to a $34 million “infrastructure credit.”
Credit: HYOSUB SHIN / AJC
Credit: HYOSUB SHIN / AJC