Dan Cathy, partners unveil Pinewood Forrest

Chick-fil-A CEO Dan Cathy and partners unveiled plans Thursday for a long-simmering live-work-play community outside the busy Pinewood Atlanta Studios complex in Fayette County.

The $700 million to $1 billion Pinewood Forrest development, covering more than 230 acres, will involve hotels, about 1,300 residences, including senior housing and single family homes, retail, office space and health care facilities.

Bill Lynch, one of the lead development partners, called Pinewood Forrest a “live, create and play community” next to what he called one of the most sophisticated movie studios in the world that will help shape Fayette and the metro Atlanta area.

The project will have different districts and a village town center with high-end retail, chef-driven restaurants and homes ranging from versions of modern urban-style “tiny houses” to row houses and cottage units geared to seniors.

Cathy said the project, which combined with the studios could expand to 900 acres, will be targeted to people in the film and related creative industries. It will be walkable and include a network of trails.

“We envision this to be your ultimate sandbox as a creative artist,” Cathy said, saying it could seed further development south of Atlanta.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported last year that a mixed-use complex, including new studio space, had been pitched to local and state planners in a Development of Regional Impact filing.

A $40 million performing arts center also already in the works. The arts center will be jointly funded by the developers, the county and nearby municipal governments and local schools.

Film campuses tend to be self-contained and inwardly focused hives of activity. But development near the Pinewood site would be a new wrinkle in the growth of Georgia’s movie business.

Gov. Nathan Deal’s office said last July that 248 television and movie projects shot in Georgia in fiscal year 2015, spending $1.7 billion in the state. That’s more than six times the film business spending in Georgia in 2008.

Cathy is the project’s “chief visionary” and he has tapped longtime Atlanta area real estate figures such as Lynch and Lew Oliver as members of the development team.

“This mixed-used development is definitely going to be a major economic driver,” Fayetteville City Manager Ray Gibson said in an interview prior to the Pinewood Forrest event. “It’ll bring in homeowners and businesses. It’s going to enhance the quality of life in the city of Fayetteville and the county.”

Additional filming campuses are in the pipeline in Georgia, including one announced in recent weeks in Covington, east of Atlanta.

Check back for more on ajc.com and our subscriber website, MyAJC.com, for more information later today.

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