Gwinnett’s OFS says business expansion won’t kill movie-making dreams

OFS, the Gwinnett County  fiber optic manufacturer whose property was once pitched for a movie studio megadevelopment, announced Tuesday plans to expand its facilities and add around 200 jobs. 

The company’s original movie campus plans appear to have fallen through for good, but a spokeswoman said OFS’ planned expansion of its everyday business does not signal an end to any future film industry ambitions.

“OFS continues to self-manage an active television and film production portfolio while continuing to market a portion of the property,” spokeswoman Sherry Salyer said Tuesday morning. “The expansion has no impact on possible future movie studio plans or projects.”

More from subscriber website myAJC.com: Owner, developer to split disputed $400K in movie studio flap

OFS’ planned expansion will include both its Gwinnett campus — located just off I-85 and Jimmy Carter Boulevard near Norcross — and another facility in Carrollton, according to the announcement made Tuesday by Partnership Gwinnett and the Georgia Department of Economic Development. OFS, a subsidiary of Japanese parent company Furukawa Electric Co., “plans to nearly double its 2016 optical fiber manufacturing capacity by 2019.”

A total of about 200 jobs will be created between the two facilities, officials said, and the expansion represents a $138.9 million investment. It was not immediately clear how the jobs and investment would be divided across the pair of campuses.

“It is always a win when an existing industry commits to an expansion, but what makes this announcement even more impactful that is that OFS is creating job opportunities at two facilities in the state,” Georgia Department of Economic Development Commissioner Pat Wilson said in a news release. “Congratulations to both Gwinnett and Carroll County. OFS has been an incredible corporate citizen and I am excited for their continued commitment to Georgia.” 

Added Gwinnett Commission Chairman Charlotte Nash: “OFS’ expansion in Gwinnett is a direct reflection of our superior workforce and business friendly climate.”

In 2012, the OFS site was pitched as the future home of a casino complex, though that vision quickly died.

Less than a year later, Jacoby Development announced its intentions to build what would’ve been the Southeast’s largest movie studio complex on part of the OFS campus. Initial plans aso included multifamily housing, retail and an on-site hotel. 

A handful of movies have been shot on the OFS site, but Jacoby’s grander vision has never com to fruition. Jacoby and OFS eventually found themselves involved in litigation over several different monetary disputes. Those disputes were settled late last year, effectively dissolving the relationship be tween OFS and Jacoby. 

OFS has said little specific about its hopes for future movie-related project. But the company has made clear that it is still marketing part of its property for such purposes and is also pursuing filming projects on its own.

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People 2 People February 5, 2018

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