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Local Production Infrastructure Case Study: Trilith Studios

Updated: Nov 16, 2023


Trilith Studios, Fayetteville. Image credit: Trilith Studios


Introduction

Since it was established in 2013, Trilith Studios has grown to be the largest production facility in Georgia. It has sparked investment in the local area, directly leading to the Town at Trilith community development.


Trilith Studios is a major film and television production studio located in Fayetteville. The studio was established in 2013 as a collaboration between the Pinewood Group and River's Rock LLC. It has since evolved into a comprehensive media ecosystem, encompassing various facilities and services composed of Trilith Studios, Town at Trilith, Trilith Foundation, and the Trilith Institute. It is the largest production facility in Georgia.[1]


The studio currently offers 32 soundstages, spanning 653,150 square feet across more than 1.5 million square feet of production facilities – including construction workshops, costume shops, and an extensive 400-acre backlot.[2] The campus is a one-stop shop for producers with 38 production support vendors onsite, including MBS Equipment Company, The Third Floor, The Imaginarium Studios, HERC Entertainment Rentals, and TRP Worldwide. The studio has been the production site for several major film and television productions, notably Spider-Man: No Way Home (2021), Avengers: Endgame (2019), Black Adam (2022), live audience television shows like College Bowl (1953-present), Family Feud (1976-present), Wild’N’Out (2005-present), and streaming shows like WandaVision (2021) and The Falcon and The Winter Soldier (2019-2021). Trilith has a further stage called the Prysm Stage which is a virtual production volume in a purpose-built 18,000 square feet stage. The space incorporates 360-degree LED walls and overhead panels. This facility can house sizeable set elements and support in-camera visual effects. It utilizes game engine-based video display capabilities. Moreover, there is a distinct stage specifically intended for vehicle filming.[3]


Town at Trilith, formerly known as Pinewood Forest, is a meticulously designed 235-acre European-inspired town located adjacent to Trilith Studios. Envisioned as a gathering place for creatives, artists, storytellers and makers, the community is currently home to approximately 1,000 residents who live in 325 single-family homes and 265 multi-family homes.[4] At maximum capacity, the town is capable of hosting 5,000 residents to live in 1,400 homes that accommodate the price sensitivities of creatives in all stages of their careers.


A notable feature of Trilith's residential areas is the commitment to sustainability; they form the largest geothermal community in the US. A significant 51% of the town's area is dedicated to green spaces. There are 15 miles of nature trails, 54 acres of forest, 19 landscaped parks, and tennis and basketball courts, among other recreational facilities. In alignment with its commitment to wellness, fitness, and education, Trilith houses the Piedmont Wellness Center, a leading 60,000 square feet fitness facility.[5] Additionally, the town supports a K-12 micro school with a narrative arts emphasis and cutting-edge technology named The Forest School, open to those living outside of Trilith.[6]


Trilith Studios, Fayetteville. Image credit: Trilith Studios


The Pinewood Group initiated this venture in collaboration with River's Rock LLC in April 2013, with an initial facility size of 690 acres, housing a minimum of five soundstages.[7] The studio’s inaugural production was Marvel Studios' Ant-Man (2015), which shot at the studio in September 2014. The transformation to Trilith Studios occurred in October 2020, post Pinewood's divestment in August 2019 to River's Rock LLC.[8] In November 2021, Trilith publicized a partnership with NEP Virtual Studios, heralding the opening of the Prysm Stage virtual production facility in early 2022. The fifth phase of Trilith Studios, which will be spread across an expanding footprint of 740 acres, is scheduled to open in 2023, with a further two stages to be finished in 2024.[9]


Trilith Studios has recently initiated a significant expansion through the Development of Regional Impact process. The current proposal entails a substantial 4.7 million square feet expansion, encompassing studio, production, office, warehouse, and retail spaces. Additionally, it will include 55 residential units. This expansion extends from the existing Trilith Studios property, moving southwards to Highway 54. The total project covers 913 acres. When completed, the entire development will consist of 6.9 million square feet of integrated space, with a projected completion date in 2032.[10]


Construction Activity

Trilith Studios has invested significantly in studio development and expansion in the last nine years and the planned construction activity is set to provide a large boost to the local economy.


Trilith Studios and Town at Trilith, September 2023. Image credit: Charles Burcher for Trilith Development


Between FY 2014 and FY 2022, $172 million was invested in construction of the studio (Figure 41). The studio complex stimulated the development of Town at Trilith which included the construction of infrastructure, homes, offices, and other facilities. Construction costs of these developments total $428 million between FY 2017, when the first investments were made, to FY 2022. Since FY 2018, the overall construction investment averaged $97.9 million a year.


There is much more investment in the pipeline, with FY 2024 and FY 2025 seeing construction spend in Fayette County peaking at $640 million and $742 million. In the five years from FY 2023, $1.2 billion is planned for the construction of new production facilities and a further $753 million in construction of facilities at the Town at Trilith.


Trilith Construction Expenditure by Year Actual FY 2014 – FY 2022, and Anticipated FY 2023 – FY 2027 ($ million)

Source: Trilith Studios (2023)


Summary of Economic Impact Results

The construction of both the studios and the wider town has stimulated a significant economic impact.


The results presented in this section are the impact that construction at Trilith Studios and associated construction of the Town at Trilith has generated and is forecasted to generate between FY 2014 to FY 2027. SPI received detailed construction expenditure data from Trilith and utilized the same I-O method utilizing IMPLAN but focusing on Fayette County impacts only. Note that all results are in 2023 prices.


Between FY 2014 and FY 2022, Trilith-related construction has contributed a total of $881 million in economic output. This includes $605 million in direct output, $154 million in indirect output, and $122 million in induced output (Figure 42). It is anticipated over the next five years (FY 2023 – FY 2027) the studio will generate an additional $2.91 billion in economic output from planned construction work at the studio itself and in the wider town.


GVA is a key measure of the additional economic value created by an activity. Broadly, it is the difference between gross output and the value of intermediate input, and it is aligned to the concept of GDP. In terms of GVA, construction at Trilith (studio and town) contributed a total of $475 million between FY 2014 and FY 2022 (Figure 43). This is broken down into $333 million of direct GVA, $76 million in indirect and $67 million in induced GVA. Between FY 2023 and FY 2027, Trilith construction activity is projected to support a total of $1.57 billion in GVA. Between FY 2014 and FY 2022, Trilith-related construction had generated a total of $371 million in labour income, split between $295 million in direct income, $45 million and $31 million indirect and induced income respectively (Figure 44). Labor income is forecasted to increase substantially over the next five years (FY 2023 and FY 2027), reaching a total forecasted $1.24 billion.


Output Associated with the Construction of Trilith Studios and Town, Actual FY 2014 – FY 2022, and Anticipated FY 2023 – FY 2027 ($ million)

Source: SPI analysis (2023)


GVA Associated with the Construction of Trilith Studios, Actual FY 2014 – FY 2022, and Anticipated FY 2023 – FY 2027 ($ million)

Source: SPI analysis (2023)


Labor Income Associated with the Construction of Trilith Studios, Actual FY 2014 – FY 2022, and Anticipated FY 2023 – FY 2027 ($ million)


Source: SPI analysis (2023)


The economic activity generated by the studio construction and associated town infrastructure leads to tax receipts for government at the state and local level. Trilith-supported construction has contributed a combined $25 million in taxes between FY 2014 and FY 2022. The studio construction was associated with $9 million of direct local and state taxes, with $8 million indirect, and $7 million induced taxes (Figure 45). Between FY 2023 and FY 2027, the studio and associated infrastructure projects are forecast to generate an additional $84 million in tax revenue from construction.


In FY 2022, construction at Trilith studio and town supported a total of 1,500 jobs (Figure 46). This includes those directly employed in construction, the construction supply chain and employment supported by construction workers (and those working in the supply chain) spending their wages in the local economy. With the sharp uplift in construction, which is planned in the coming years, the jobs supported by Trilith construction are set to reach a peak of 8,600 jobs in FY 2025.


Figure 45 – State and Local Tax Associated with the Construction of Studios, Actual FY 2014 – FY 2022, and Anticipated FY 2023 – FY 2027 ($ million)


Source: SPI analysis (2023)


Figure 46 – Jobs Supported by the Construction Investments, Actual FY 2022, and Anticipated FY 2025

Source: SPI analysis (2023)


Wider Impacts

Trilith Studios has demonstrated a substantial commitment to community benefits, amounting to a total investment of $27.4 million since 2013.


Between 2013 and 2022, the 'Reel People Care Gala' contributed $13.5 million towards charity events. Established in 2013 by Pinewood Atlanta Studios and now run by Trilith, the Gala hosts local Fayette County charities to raise funds for their respective causes. In 2023, the Trilith Foundation invested $2.3 million in enrichment projects, and the Trilith Institute designated $2 million for film training. The Forest School received an investment of $8 million from 2018 to 2023, targeted towards K-12 education.


Infrastructure improvement saw two roundabouts constructed in 2017, one at Sandy Creek Road at Veterans Parkway Crossroads, costing $430,000, and the other at Veterans Pkwy at Trilith Main Gate Entrance & Town Entrance, amounting to $550,000. From 2016 to date, charity contributions, including annual galas, local charities, and event sponsorships, have amounted to $466,000. Additionally, community events, such as movie screenings and parades, have been sponsored with an investment of $83,500, and community giving initiatives, which encompass chamber contributions and local charity donations, have received $147,600 since 2016.


 

[1]Trilith Studios seeking big expansion along Veterans Parkway. The Citizen 11th August 2022. Accessible at: https://thecitizen.com/2022/08/11/trilith-studios-seeking-big-expansion-along-veterans-parkway/ [2]Trilith Studios Soundstages. Trilith Studios. Accessible at: https://www.trilithstudios.com/stages [3]Atlanta’s Trilith Studios to Open 18,000-Square-Foot Virtual Production Facility With NEP. Variety, 9th November 2021. Accessible at: https://variety.com/2021/digital/news/trilith-studios-atlanta-prysm-virtual-production-facility-1235107268/ [4] Trilith. New Homes Division. Accessible at: https://newhomesdivisionga.com/communities/trilith/#:~:text=Previously%20known%20as%20Pinewood%20Forest,and%20townhomes%2C%20to%20custom%2Ddesigned [5] Ibid [6]The Forest School. Trilith Studios. Accessible at: https://www.trilithstudios.com/vendor/the-forest-school [7]Pinewood Studios Expands Into Georgia. LA Times, 29th April 2013. Accessible at: https://www.latimes.com/entertainment/envelope/la-xpm-2013-apr-29-la-et-ct-pinewood-atlanta-20130429-story.html [8]Pinewood Sells Stake in Atlanta Studios. The Reporter, 21st August 2019. Accessible at: https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/business/business-news/pinewood-sells-stake-atlanta-studios-1233510/Hollywood [9]Special Report: 24 Hours At Trilith, Atlanta's Country Hollywood. Urbanize, 28th July 2023. Accessible at: https://atlanta.urbanize.city/post/24-hours-trilith-country-hollywood-studios-town-special-report [10]Trilith Studios Seeking Big Expansion Along Veterans Parkway. The Citizen, 11th August 2022. Accessible at: https://thecitizen.com/2022/08/11/trilith-studios-seeking-big-expansion-along-veterans-parkway/

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