Studio City SFX Theme Park Headed to Bartow?
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In what may be the biggest off-the-wall project in recent metro Atlanta history, a Studio City-based company led by a North Georgia attorney and developer have filed plans with regional planners for a massive, tech-driven visual effects theme park in Bartow County.
Avatron USA Development has applied for a development of regional impact review with the Georgia Department of Community Affairs for what it calls Avatron Smart Park, a “totally immersive, technology-driven theme park drawing on the expertise of Hollywood's leading visual effects professionals.” The project is set to include two hotels, retail, the park itself and a possible music venue, all off Paga Mine Road in Bartow.
The company's list of executives reads like a Hollywood blockbuster cast. The project is being led by David Garrett, a Georgia attorney who helped then Gov. Zell Miller pass the Georgia lottery (and acted as the lottery's first chairman), and who has led numerous development companies including Mallory & Evans and Airis Holdings, a firm that develops airport facilities worldwide. He's since sold his interest in the company. David did not return calls seeking comment.
According to Avatron's website, Jo Ram and James Ram are credited as the creators of the concept. Neither could be reached for comment. The fourth executive is Tennyson Wells, described as a “serial entrepreneur” and land developer who also is a former politician from The Bahamas. And finally, the company names Joel Hyneck, a Hollywood visual effects supervisor and director who won an Academy Award in '99 for best visual effects. He was briefly featured about the Avatron project in a recent Hollywood Reporter story, describing how the project will feature a domed theater that will scan audience members' faces to put into the action on the 360-degree screen. "It will be the closest we'll come to being on the holodeck," he was quoted as saying. The company states the project will deliver by 2018.