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New businesses, movies flock to Rockdale
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Solar energy farms are among several major businesses looking to expand into Rockdale. And more Hollywood filming-including the Oprah Winfrey-produced Martin Luther King Jr. movie "Selma"-is on the way, too.

Those updates and more were announced this week by the Conyers Rockdale Economic Development Council. CREDC Executive Director Marty Jones provided the News with a list of potential businesses developments in various stages of progress.

CREDC expects an "announcement soon" on a development code-named "Project Bold," a metal fabrication company currently negotiating for a 100,000-square-foot Rockdale location. It would bring 75 to 100 jobs over five years, according to CREDC.

Two different solar energy companies are scouting the area for potential sites. In addition, a local start-up is looking for space for a "sports-related facility" with five to 10 employees, and another, unnamed company is considering a 100-job expansion into Rockdale.

The manufacturer considering the former Acuity Brands building on Rockdale Industrial Boulevard is still interested, but the county is still working on expanding an Opportunity Zone on the site, a tax incentive that would aid the deal.

Still more expansions may be coming soon after Jones's recent productive lunch with a local banker.

"We were talking about what CREDC does and how CREDC could help him," Jones said. "Come to find out, the bank had four different [commercial] customers in Rockdale County that they think are looking to expand, trying to figure out what and where to go."

Jones and CREDC Project Manager Gina Hartsell put together a list of possible locations for all four businesses. Jones said the banker recently told him two of those businesses have made offers on properties CREDC suggested.

Yet another possible expansion listed as "on hold" is a 92-acre Dogwood Drive site. A manufacturer has put the site on its short list for a 300-job expansion, but a stream on the property is affecting the plan. CREDC is working with them to find possible solutions.

Meanwhile, movie and TV filming continues to boom. "Selma," the Martin Luther King Jr. movie, will feature Conyers/Rockdale as a "major location" and film here at the last week of May and in June. The Rockdale county Courthouse will be the location for scenes depicting Judge Frank Johnson's courtroom where the ruling took place allowing the 1965 civil rights march. Rockdale County Superior Court Judge Robert Mumford quipped that the director hadn't asked him to play Judge Johnson because they apparently already had "someone named Martin Sheen."

In May, the movie "The Sunday Horse," starring "Twilight Saga" actress Nikki Reed, will film at various Rockdale locations. The movie's official Facebook page ( features some photos and comments about the crew's early visits to Conyers. More on "Sunday Horse" producer John Duffy's visit to Rockdale Career Academy broadcast students here.

Conyers remains the headquarters for two major productions: the TV series "The Originals" and the upcoming kiddie horror film "Goosebumps."

The upcoming AMC TV series "Halt and Catch Fire" filmed here in February through April and spent $150,000 to $175,000 locally, CREDC estimates. More episodes will be filmed here after a summer break.

In other business, CREDC this week elected Deborah Armstrong as its new treasurer. Armstrong, the CEO of Rockdale Medical Center, replaces Danny Stone, who recen