Atlanta emerges as ‘Y’allywood’: Celebrities flock to the Peach State for luxury homes

Celebrities are flocking to Atlanta for luxury homes.
Celebrities are flocking to Atlanta for luxury homes.

When Norman Reedus first entered the scene as Daryl Dixon on AMC’s “The Walking Dead,” whose set was near Atlanta, he never imagined it would become his long-term gig — or that Georgia would ultimately become his home.

“I thought they’d kill me off in the first week,” he told the Wall Street Journal, reflecting on his early days in 2010.

But as the show evolved into a colossal phenomenon, Reedus decided to plant roots in the Peach State, splurging $2.9 million for a stunning Frank Lloyd Wright-inspired abode in the luxurious enclave of Serenbe, just a stone’s throw from Atlanta’s bustling film sets.

Norman Reedus paid $2.9 million for his Atlanta home in 2019; it’s now for sale. Google Maps
Norman Reedus paid $2.9 million for his Atlanta home in 2019; it’s now for sale. Google Maps
Norman Reedus and Diane Kruger. Getty Images
Norman Reedus and Diane Kruger. Getty Images

“Georgia was our home for the run of the show,” he explained, reminiscing about his 12-year stint on the series, which wrapped in 2022, alongside his fiancée, Diane Kruger.

The city of Atlanta, long known for its vibrant music scene, has morphed into a cinematic hotspot — drawing A-listers like Reedus who are drawn in by the film and television industries chasing Georgia’s tax credits and incentives for production. From hip-hop havens to opulent neighborhoods like Tuxedo Park, stars are carving a cozy nook for themselves there.

“There’s so much Hollywood going on in Georgia that they call it Y’allywood now,” Reedus quipped. And he’s not wrong.

Celebs like Josh Brolin and even Steve Harvey have made Atlanta their home sweet home in recent years, scooping up lavish properties and adding to the city’s glitz and glam.

Melissa McCarthy’s former home in Atlanta’s affluent Buckhead. COMPASS MIDTOWN ATLANTA
Melissa McCarthy’s former home in Atlanta’s affluent Buckhead. COMPASS MIDTOWN ATLANTA
Melissa McCarthy and Ben Falcone. REUTERS
Melissa McCarthy and Ben Falcone. REUTERS

But it’s not just about the star-studded homes. Georgia’s film industry is booming, with 4 million square feet of stage space in 2023 alone, a staggering leap from its humble beginnings.

“The film and TV production credits are huge economic drivers,” Steve Cohen, of United Talent Agency, told the Journal.

For Ryan Millsap, founder of Blackhall Studios, Atlanta’s appeal lies in its promise of a balanced lifestyle.

“Georgia is punching way above its weight class,” he boasted, recounting his journey from Los Angeles to the Peach State. And with homes like his $5.15 million estate in Tuxedo Park, it’s easy to see why.

The Atlanta area is a bustling spot for film and television production due to tax incentives. Cavan – stock.adobe.com
The Atlanta area is a bustling spot for film and television production due to tax incentives. Cavan – stock.adobe.com

“The tax credit is everything,” Millsap added.

But Atlanta isn’t just for the elite.

With real-estate investor Maximilian Deitermann leading the charge, the city is undergoing a renaissance, boasting up-and-coming neighborhoods, vibrant eateries and urban redevelopment projects like the BeltLine.

Meanwhile, Trilith Studios is transforming Fayetteville, Georgia into a live-work-play utopia, attracting industry insiders like Rob Parker, president of the Town at Trilith, who boasts of the community’s 750 homes and cinematic charm.

A luxury home in Trillith, Georgia, and one that seems fit for an A-list resident. Kenyatta Russell – stock.adobe.com
A luxury home in Trillith, Georgia, and one that seems fit for an A-list resident. Kenyatta Russell – stock.adobe.com

And let’s not forget about the privacy-seekers. Serenbe, with its serene landscapes and exclusive amenities, has become a haven for the rich and famous, offering a retreat from the spotlight without sacrificing luxury.

For Reedus, Georgia was a sanctuary — a place to unwind after long days on set, far from the prying eyes of Hollywood.

Now, as he bids adieu to his beloved estate, Reedus reflects on his nomadic lifestyle: “When you have a family full of actors, you go where the work is.”