Who Is Rahim Charania? Hint: Covingtonwood.
A captain in Georgia's clean energy industry is getting Hollywood stars in his eyes. In this case, out in Covington with a massive movie studio project.
Rahim Charania, founder and CEO of American Fueling Systems, is eyeing a 700k SF mixed-use movie and post-production studio on a 160-acre plot off John R. Williams Highway, just west of Oxford College, in Covington. The $110M project, according to documents filed with the Georgia Department of Community Affairs, will include pre- and post-production filming and editing studios and office space.
Rahim says the details on the project, Three Ring Studios, have not been pinned down at this point, nor has he secured agreements with any studios or financing for the project.
“Right now, everything is so much in the air,” he says. But Rahim has turned at least one startup into a success.
In 2011, he started AFS and quickly created a small empire in the alternative fuels industry, including providing compressed natural gas, liquefied natural gas and transport to the energy sector. Last year, he was recognized as Business Person of the Year by the Metro Atlanta Chamber.
Rahim and his co-investors are the most recent to have land tied up in Atlanta with Hollywood stars in their eyes. Atlanta is home to a host of successful film studios—Pinewood, Stageworks, EUE Screen Gems—but there are still more planned or freshly delivered, such as Integral Group's Third Rail Studios that is nearing completion at the former GM site in Doraville, and Jacoby Development's long-planned studio in Norcross.
And, most recently, local developer Stephen Macauley (above)—who helped Integral with its GM development—announced plans for a $300M project at a shuttered Sears Roebuck & Co warehouse in Tucker that would include a movie studio as well.
Rahim says he and his co-investors on the Covington property were eyeing it for other potential uses. But the sheer size of the plot just continued to make more sense to cater to Georgia's burgeoning film production industry—where more than 30 TV shows and movies were in production as of this month alone.
And Covington has a pedigree with Hollywood, not only being the site for the popular TV show The Vampire Diaries (a scene here from season 4 in the episode "The Five," filmed at Orna Villa in Oxford), but also with the '80s TV show In The Heat of the Night, during a time when local film production was still largely a dream. “The [studio] market already knows the area,” Rahim says.