Pinewood Studios paying higher tax bill as tax credits abate

Pinewood Studios Sign. File Photo.

Pinewood Atlanta Studios has contributed significantly to the Fayette County economy since its inception a few years ago. For 2019, Pinewood Atlanta will write a check for more than $594,000 for property taxes on the 288-acre studio property and 26-acre production centre locations.

The 288-acre property on Veterans Parkway, including soundstages, offices, warehouses and vendor buildings, will receive a property tax bill totaling $548,664 That compares to the $9,673 in taxes paid on the 288 acres in 2012 before the studio development began.

Also receiving a tax bill for $45,588 will be the Pinewood Production Centre on Sandy Creek Road, the former Rivers Elementary School, across from the studio property.

The two combined Pinewood properties will generate $594,252 in property taxes for 2019.

Pinewood Atlanta, by virtue of a 20-year leasehold agreement with the Fayette County Development Authority (FCDA), committed to a tax rate that grows incrementally by five percent each year until 100 percent of property taxes are paid each year. This year’s tax bill reflects 30 percent of the fair market value.

Along with that, the Phase 2 portion of the studio project, also located on the 288-acre tract, received a 10-year abatement agreement whereby taxes are paid at a 10 percent increment each year. This year, the rate on Phase 2 properties is 40 percent.

Those figures do not include the Pinewood Production Centre across Sandy Creek Road from the studios. Pinewood Atlanta LLC will write a check for $45,588 this year for production centre taxes, a figure also based on the 30 percent increment. Prior to the purchase, the property paid no taxes since it was the site of Rivers Elementary School, owned by the Fayette County Board of Education.

The industrial revenue bonds (IRBs) issued by FCDA in 2013 totaled $52 million for the Pinewood Atlanta Studios development on the 288-acre property on Veterans Parkway and the Pinewood Production Centre.

While some in the community were vocal about the lack of taxes being paid at both sites when the project began, a review of tax bills provided by the Fayette County Tax Commissioner’s office tells a different tale.

What was $9,672.72 in taxes in 2012 became:

• $20,637 in 2014 at 5 percent

• $57,238 in 2015 at 10 percent

• $139,357 in 2016 at 15 percent

• $265,034 in 2017 at 20 percent

• $381,351 in 2018 at 25 percent

• $548,664 in 2019 at 30 percent

Taxes on the 26-acre production centre property showed:

• $3,277 in 2014 at 5 percent

• $11,763 in 2015 at 10 percent

• $16,452 in 2016 at 15 percent

• $26,754 in 2017 at 20 percent

• $35,483 in 2018 at 25 percent

• $45,588 in 2019 at 30 percent

There is more to the story in terms of contribution to the local community. Sales taxes are generated on the studio property through retail outlets such as Home Depot and vehicle rentals. Beyond that, the multitude of jobs found on studio property generate an unknown amount of purchases and sales tax revenues in the community.

The property tax figures above do not include the 234-acre Pinewood Forest property on Veterans Parkway across from the studio.