This is the second installment of "Actual Factual Gwinnett," a news column in which I, Tyler Estep, try to answer your most burning questions about Gwinnett County -- things like "What're they building over yonder?" and "Whatever happened to..." and "Is it true that...?"
For the first couple editions, I'm answering my own random questions (click here to read my first offering, "Where did the 'Success Lives Here' towers go?"). The goal, however, is to hear from you. Contact me at email@example.com, @ByTylerEstep or via the submission form below with inquiries, hate mail or silly ideas.
Let's get started.
The question, which I literally asked aloud (to myself) recently: Wait, Kim Basinger used to own Braselton?!
The answer is yes. Sort of.
But first things first, for the younger crowd: Kim Basinger was (is?) a famous Hollywood actress. She was in movies like “Batman” (the 1989 version), “L.A. Confidential” and “9 ½ Weeks.” She was born in Athens and is now 62 years old.
Also: Braselton is indeed a town (they preferred to be called a town, not a city) in Gwinnett. Parts of Braselton are also in Jackson, Hall and Barrow counties. It’s perhaps best known for Chateau Elan, the wine (and golf and spa) place off I-85.
OK, back to what brought us here: Yes, Kim Basinger used to “own” Braselton.
More specifically — in early 1990, she and a group of business partners decided to use $20 million to buy a bank, industrial park, 50 buildings and 1,700 acres of land in the town. Basinger dreamed of turning it all into a “major” film and recording studio, with the added bonus of a theme park, homes and shopping centers.
That dream fell flat, nothing ever really happened and Basinger’s group re-sold the property for just $4.3 million in 1995 (famed Gwinnett developer and former county commission chairman Wayne Mason was involved in that purchase, The AJC reported at the time).
All of this, of course, is super ironic given the current context of Georgia’s (and Gwinnett’s) booming success in the movie and TV production game. Then again, Basinger seems to be doing fine (I think?) — she'll play Christian Grey's ex-lover in the new "50 Shades of Grey" sequel.
I, Tyler Estep, am a staff writer at The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and a Gwinnett County native. Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org, @ByTylerEstep or via the submission form below. Unless you're mean. I don't like mean people.