MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Move over Atlanta — Memphis could be in the running for a major TV entertainment production complex similar to Tyler Perry’s in Georgia.
An 85-acre property near Elvis Presley Boulevard and Holmes Road in the Whitehaven community could soon be ready for closeup. The father-and-son team of Jason A. Farmer and Jason Farmer II with Memphis-based Black Lens Production studio plans to turn it into a major movie and TV studio complex potentially rivaling anything in Hollywood.
Linn Sitler, the Memphis and Shelby Film and Television commissioner, confirmed talks are underway with the developer.
“I can’t tell you what this would mean to the city, the county, to the state and the Mid-South if this happens,” Sitler said. “I have to say if it all comes together, because it’s preliminary, it’s definitely something that would benefit Whitehaven, would benefit our diverse talent, our diverse community”
Plans were filed last Thursday with the county’s Land Use Control Board. They call for 12 sound stages, executive offices, film editing suites, record studios, an outdoor film zone, a special effects facility, a commissary and a hotel.
Angelo Earl, a Memphis actor who was in the TV series “Bluff City Law” and a musician with the Bar-Kays, said he’d be glad to see the studio anywhere in Memphis.
“Since we’re in West Tennessee, we kinda get left out of a lot of things, but if we take control, we can make this city shine very bright,” Earl said. “We have to be open minded.”
Memphis City Councilman Martavius Jones is cautiously optimistic.
“On the surface I’m very excited about it, but with these things the devil is always in the detail,” Jones said. “Quite a venture like this will be very capital-intensive, and I’d love to see the numbers and the money behind it to make something like this work.”
Sitler said her office will be talking with developers over the next few days to find out more their proposed plans. The wait is now on to see if there will be lights, cameras and action in Whitehaven.