Film stu­dio com­ing to Cov­ing­ton

The Covington News - - FRONT PAGE - BRYAN FAZIO bfazio@cov­news.com

A “one of a kind, mas­sive, film, TV, mu­sic and video gam­ing pro­duc­tion site” is close to com­ing to Cov­ing­ton.

An uniden­ti­fied prin­ci­pal in­vestor out of At­lanta is in the process of pur­chas­ing the land, which will be­come a stu­dio back­lot, of­fice space for edit­ing and pro­cess­ing and sound­stages. Ac­cord­ing to Dave Bernd, Cov­ing­ton/Newton County Cham­ber of Com­merce Vice Pres­i­dent of Eco­nomic De­vel­op­ment that in­vestor will part­ner with one of two ma­jor film com­pa­nies out of Cal­i­for­nia who are look­ing at the site to make their East Coast pro­duc­tion head­quar­ters.

“It’s go­ing to ce­ment Cov­ing­ton as the Hol­ly­wood of the South,” Bernd said. “It will likely be the go-to site for en­ter­tain­ment glob­ally.”

“This is like, to me, West Point get­ting Kia, Cov­ing­ton is get­ting this,” Cov­ing­ton Mayor Ron­nie John­ston said.

Newton County’s eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment team, will bring in more than 1,000 jobs with large salaries, ac­cord­ing to Bernd.

“It’s about bring­ing in in­vest­ment and bring­ing in jobs for our com­mu­nity,” John­ston said. “I’m very ex­cited about hav­ing a cool, sexy en­ter­prise that’s one of a kind in the state of Ge­or­gia. But the big­gest thing is the fact of the level of jobs it’s go­ing to bring in here.”

The state of Ge­or­gia lists the av­er­age salary of $84,000 for jobs in the film in­dus­try.

“There will be jobs from grips to pipe fit­ters, car­pen­ters, welders, all the way up to the stage hands, agents and into highly tech­ni­cal Class A of­fice space-housed post pro­duc­tion, dark room edi­tors and dig­i­tal en­gi­neers work­ing on films,” Bernd said.

Bernd and Serra Phillips, Newton County’s Eco­nomic De­vel­op­ment team, have been work­ing on Project Three Ring for a year and a half, af­ter com­ing up with the con­cept and pitch­ing it to po­ten­tial in­vestors.

“It is an awe­some ex­am­ple of work­ing to­gether to bring some­thing here that is very unique,” John­ston said. “I want to be the No. 1 com­mu­nity in Ge­or­gia if not the South­east. I want us to be sought af­ter. This is the bedrock of that process. It’s one of the pieces of re­ally putting us in that po­si­tion.”

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