Tyler Perry to Spend $100 Million to Expand Studio

Filmmaker ramps up plans to turn Atlanta into Black Hollywood.

Posted: 08/14/2014 08:45 AM EDT

Tyler Perry must be popping a bottle of champagne this week. The filmmaker has been approved for a $100 million expansion of his Tyler Perry Studios in Atlanta. Perry will take over three-quarters of a closed U.S. Army base for the project, the Atlanta Journal Constitution reports.

The filmmaker plans not only to build more facilities to shoot his multitude of films and television shows, but also make the studio a hub for the community at large. Perry promises the project will be a job creator in Atlanta, and also give the South's other film-friendly city, New Orleans, a run for its production dollars. "We needed a place where people could come by the thousands," Perry told the board that oversees the property.

Still, many residents are skeptical of Perry's plans. "I have mixed feelings," said one resident who believes the space should have been used for housing and multi-purpose business. "Because talk is cheap." Perry was even sued by another group of investors for allegedly swaying government officials to win the bid on the property.

Perry seems to be sensitive to locals' concerns, but feels confident he'll win the community over in time. "Because what I find is that there is always fear when something new is coming," he said. "But once people see me move in or get a better understanding of what's going on, there will be a clearer understanding and all the fears will be calmed." 

The deal is expected to close on October 15, and groundbreaking will presumably follow shortly thereafter.

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 (Photo: Christopher Polk/Getty Images)

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