Clayton to get new state-of-the-art film production studio

A Los Angeles developer of film studios plans to build a five-stage, state-of-the-art studio complex in Clayton County, giving a hefty boost to film production in Clayton.

Clayton County Studios will be built between Lake City and Morrow and will be managed by Pacifica Ventures. The studio gives Pacifica Ventures an entry into the southeast and Georgia’s multi-billion-dollar film-making market. It will be the company’s second film-production studio in the United States. It has a nine-stage studio in Albuquerque, N.M., where hits like “Breaking Bad” and “The Avengers” were produced.

“We welcome Clayton County Studios to the Georgia film community and are excited to have a new top-of-the-line studio to offer the hundreds of film and television productions looking for studio space in Georgia each year,” said Lee Thomas, Deputy Commissioner of the Georgia Film, Music & Digital Entertainment Office. “The film industry spent more than $2 billion in Georgia last year and is still growing, and the new studio will have a significant fiscal impact on the local economy.”

Pacifica Ventures said it will spend at least $12 million on the Clayton project. The studios will be on 27 acres directly across the street from the National Archives in Morrow. The site already is occupied by a former Ingles supermarket that was turned into a sound studio several years ago. That facility will be incorporated in the Clayton project, said Matt Rauchberg, senior vice president of business development at Pacifica Ventures. The facility will be used for set construction and storage.

“We look forward to working with the local community, and the local schools and colleges to support and expand training and internship programs for the entertainment production industry and create new opportunities for local residents,” Rauchberg said.

Groundbreaking on the first phase is expected to be in September, Rauchberg said. The five sound studios will be between 18,000 and 20,000 square feet each, Rauchberg said. They will be built in pairs with connecting doors. The complex will also include production offices, post-production space, a green screen, mill and construction space and a commissary.

In 2015, Clayton bought three acres formerly owned by the U.S. Postal Services and combined that with 17 acres already owned by the county with a goal of attracting a studio complex.

Rauchberg said the company chose Clayton because of its proximity to Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport and downtown Atlanta.

Clayton County Commissioner Sonna Singleton called the project “a great economic development win.” The complex will be built in her district.

Clayton Studio will be smaller than Fayette County's Pinewood Studios, which opened in 2014 with five sound stages and about 400,000 square feet of space.

In addition to the Clayton project, Pacifica Ventures is pursuing a project in the United Kingdom, Rauchberg said.

Clayton opened its film and entertainment office in 2010 and has since been the production site for such movies and television shows as “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire”, “The Odd Life of Timothy Green”, “Revolution” and “Zombieland.”