Driving along Highway 142 across from the Orchard Park Subdivision there is a slight change in the scenery of trees and shrubs off to the side of the road.
Fast forward a year, and the scenery will forever be altered as Tuesday, that stretch of road was identified as the future home of Three Ring Studios.
The massive, film, TV, music and video game production site, which announced in June, is a step closer to reality after Ronnie Johnston, Covington mayor, and Dave Bernd, vice president of economic development with the Covington/Newton County Chamber of Commerce, unveiled a sign announcing the major development.
On the office of economic development’s Facebook page, Bernd said, “dirt will likely be moved within 30 days.”
Bernd told The News that plans are expected to be submitted by early next week. Covington City Planner Scott Gaither and his team will then review the plans and issue permits, with construction beginning shortly after that.
In February a career expo for Newton, Rockdale, Walton, Jasper and Morgan Counties is planned to be held at Newton College and Career Academy. Residents of those five counties will be required to show identification, and more than 20 vendors related to the film industry are expected to be in attendance, Bernd said.
Around 1,000 jobs with an average salary of $84,000 are expected to be brought to the area by Three Ring Studios.
“Over the next couple of years, it will affect thousands of jobs in the local community,” Bernd said.
Those jobs could start sooner rather than later, as it is expected that several site assets will be operation in the first half of 2017, according to Bernd.
According to a Development of Regional Impact form filled out through the state of Georgia, the estimated completion date is December, 2017. The project is estimated to be valued at $110 million, and bring in an estimated $1.8 million in local tax revenues a year.
The studio will be set up to lease to production companies, similar to Pinewood Studios in Atlanta, which currently is leasing its facilities to Marvel Studios.
“This is the most unique business to locate in Covington in our history, and this one-of-a-kind studio is going to attract international attention to our town,” Johnston said.” This massive, $100,000,000 investment will be accompanied by thousands of job opportunities, and residents will have the first chance to secure those jobs during a career expo in February, 2017. Three Ring Studios will be a life changing opportunity for thousands in Covington, and as a community we should all be very excited Covington was selected for their site.”