Pinewood Atlanta Studios, which bought out its U.K. mothership last year, is officially going solo, announcing a new name for its expanded production facilities and the adjacent planned community, previously called Pinewood Forest.
The entire live-work campus will now be called Trilith — an architectural term referring to structures like the ones that compose Stonehenge (two large vertical stones supporting a third laid across the top). “It’s a portal, a pathway, a gateway. And a nod to our U.K. heritage,” studios CEO and part owner Frank Patterson told Deadline.
The rebranding announcement called the new name “emblematic of the three pillars of creativity behind it: storytelling, purpose-built places and emerging technology.”
The studio opened in 2014 as joint venture between the Pinewood Group and River’s Rock, an independently managed trust of Atlanta’s Cathy family, the billionaire founders of fast-food chain Chick-fil-A.
Pinewood Atlanta rode the wave of booming Georgia production including a host of Marvel movies, from the studio’s first feature Ant-Man to Ant-Man and the Wasp, Black Panther, Guardians of The Galaxy Vol. 2, Captain America: Civil War and Avengers: Endgame to name a few.
In August, 2019 the Cathy trust bought out its U.K. partner and began a year-long separation. Trilith developers think the expansion of the studios and growth of the town will increase the “value proposition” of the site for producers of big budget films and television shows.
The newly named Trilith Studios is part of a 935-acre master development with a slate of vendor businesses, content and tech companies, sound stages and 60,000 square feet of “smart stages” with virtual production technologies. Pinewood recently launched a first-of-its-kind virtual LED stage.
The studio began a series of strategic investments in content and technology companies in January including initial investments in Believe Entertainment Group (Dear Basketball) and Sutikki, a children’s entertainment company.
The rising New Urbanist town facing the studio complex has custom homes, restaurants and schools aimed at servicing the film and creative community.
Rob Parker, president of Pinewood Forest, now Trilith Development, said the idea started with 235 acres of wheat fields adjacent to the studio. “So we could build anything. We said let’s make it a company town for the industry.”
Parker said Trilith is modeled on European town and residents can “live, work and play” within a seven to ten minute walk. It’s 20 minutes from the Atlanta airport. Construction started two years ago and there are currently 400 people living there with 150 homes sold, Parker said. The goals is to house 5,000 residents in 1,400 homes of various sizes accommodating “the price sensitivities of creatives in all stages of their careers.”
The town recently opened its first restaurant, locally owned Barleygarden Kitchen & Craft Bar, the first of 12 planned eateries. A retail development with shops in the town center will follow.
“We are excited about making a spectacular gathering place where professionals in the creative industries – and anyone who appreciates storytelling and innovation – will feel inspired and at home,” said Parker.
The residential neighborhoods at Trilith will comprise the largest geothermal community in the U.S., with 51% of the development dedicated to green space. Residents have access to 15 miles of nature trails, 54 acres of forest and 19 landscaped parks — including a dog park.
The town also house a gym, a K-12 school and the University of Georgia’s MFA program in Screenwriting. The Georgia Film Academy, which was founded by the state’s University System and the Technical College System in 2014 to meet workforce needs for the film and creative industries, has its largest campus at Trilith that includes a soundstage, workshops, post facilities and classrooms.
In 2021, Parker and development partners plan to build two hotels, a cinema and an 18,000 square foot sound stage to host industry and arts-related events in the town.
The executives anticipate the entire Trilith project will create more than 7,000 jobs.
“We’ve been producing movies at this amazing Atlanta studio since the day it opened in 2014,” said David Grant, VP of Physical Production of Marvel Studios. “We look forward to producing more great work at Trilith and expect to benefit from the new world-class facilities, technologies and expanding business ecosystem.”
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