UPDATE: This story has been edited to reflect new information since the time of its original posting. Certain unsubstantiated details have been removed as we’re not in the investigative reports business…. This story has been bouncing around the Atlanta film community for more than a week and enough reports are drifting in from enough different directions that we’ve decided to go ahead and post the current information we have about Tyler Perry‘s studio renovation snafu, which centers around a legal detail called a construction permit (or the lack thereof). While Mr. Perry’s company is likely to face steep fines and construction changes, the bigger impact will surely be on his production schedule.
Last year word spread quickly around town that Mr. Perry, hard on the heels of his growing success as a feature film mogul, made about as canny a property purchase as can be had in Atlanta and snatched up Stageworks, an aging industrial building on Krog Street, near Cabbagetown. This was electrifying news for Atlanta’s professional filmcrews because they knew it meant increased work. For years Stageworks has been a “go to” location for commercials and feature films as it is one of the only facilities in the Atlanta area that begins to meet the requirements of a true soundstage. Tyler’s purchase signaled that he was in the film and television business for the long run.
Longtime tenants of Stageworks, the NAMES Project, keepers of the AIDs Quilt, were removed to an off-site facility which housed Mr. Perry’s company prior to his film success. Anticipated in the expansion were an additional soundstage and a new theater space.
Unfortunately, during the height of the major renovations, Mr. Perry’s company is alleged to have failed to obtain work permits from the City of Atlanta and reports from people who had been inside the facility indicate that, permits aside, there were potentially many fundamental code issues with the renovation. Construction drawings seem to have moved directly from a production designer’s pen to the construction department’s tablesaws with no architect of record in sight and as a result materials coded specifically for commercial facilities may not have been used.
While our favorite film mogul comes to terms with the City of Atlanta he finds himself unable to use the space he needs so badly. Crew are not allowed to inhabit at least one of the stages and many have been moved off-site during the prep for his next sitcom. Tongues are wagging and heads are shaking, but nobody is taking pleasure in Mr. Perry’s predicament because he remains a potential powerhouse of production for years to come.
No word yet on the possibility of a postponement of the star-studded grand opening gala for a Tyler Perry branded studio, originally scheduled for early February. Perhaps the City of Atlanta will work with Mr. Perry to ensure that he is able to host the rumored list of famous invitees (people like Oprah Winfrey and Bill Clinton) as it would certainly be a grand shot in the arm for filmmaking in Georgia!