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Rivers Elementary School sold to Pinewood Studios group

It has been a long time coming, but the Rivers Elementary School property on Sandy Creek Road across from the future Pinewood Atlanta Studios property has been sold to River’s Rock II, LLC for $5.17 million — about half the cost of the original land and building.

The sale price for the school and 30-acre property is $5.17 million, according to the purchase agreement approved by the Fayette County Board of Education after executive session Monday night.

The buyer is affiliated with the developer group that has brought in British-based Pinewood Studios for a major movie and TV production site across the road from the elementary school.

Rivers Elementary sat virtually unused since the school was completed in 2009. The $10 million school facility sits on 30 acres purchased for approximately $2 million. The $5.1 million sale price was the result of a fair market appraisal conducted on Feb. 11, according to the purchase agreement.

A provision in the sales agreement for Rivers Elementary notes that the obligation by River’s Rock II, LLC under the terms of the agreement are contingent upon either rezoning the property or having it annexed into Fayetteville, “in order to secure a zoning classification deemed necessary or appropriate by the purchaser for its planned development and the use of the land and school building ...”

The future Pinewood Atlanta studio complex situated on 288 acres directly across Sandy Creek Road from Rivers Elementary is expected to be ready to begin operations in January.

“The project is fully funded and will become a world-class studio for the production of film, television, music and video games,” according to a previous news release from Pinewood Studios.

Pinewood Atlanta is a joint venture of Pinewood Studios parent company Pinewood Shepperton and local investment group River’s Rock, LLC. River’s Rock is slated to fund the land and studio construction while Pinewood will provide the joint venture with sales and marketing services in exchange for holding shares in the company.

It is expected that the 288-acre Pinewood Studios property will annex into Fayetteville in the coming months to enable the property to hook on to the city’s sewer lines.

Plans for the elementary school have not been officially announced, though earlier this year, Fayette County Commission Chairman Steve Brown said that Savannah College of Art and Design was a possible tenant of the former elementary school.

Previous statements released through Pinewood noted that the film company was interested in a “vocational job skills training component” to produce the necessary workforce for the hundreds of new jobs to be created at the studio.

Meantime, grading on the Pinewood property is underway so that construction can begin on the first phase of the project. The first phase consists of the soundstages at 100,000 square feet with another 100,000 sq. ft. of office space and 200,000 sq. ft. of workshops and service provider space.

The inspection period for the sale of Rivers Elementary ends on Aug. 9 with the closing date no later than Aug. 15, according to the sales agreement. The closing date can be extended for two 30-day periods if rezoning has not been obtained.

The agreement also calls for the school system to lease the Rivers Elementary property to River’s Rock II, LLC beginning June 1 and extending through the closing date.

Group VI Real Estate, LLC principal Jim Pace is listed as manager with River’s Rock II, LLC. Peachtree City attorney Doug Warner is listed as the agent for River’s Rock, LLC and River’s Rock II, LLC. Both entities were incorporated on Jan. 15.

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