A Buckhead businessman-turned-televangelist is turning the former Tyler Perry mansion into a production facility to launch a web-based Christian TV network.
David Turner bought the estate, located at 4100 Paces Ferry Road and formerly owned by the filmmaker and actor, for $17.5 million in 2016. He lives there with his family, but is also using the property as a filming location for his new streaming network, Jesus Live TV.
According to the show’s senior producer, Keith Hines, Turner felt that God was telling him to move to Buckhead. When Turner visited the mansion, he heard God’s voice tell him to buy the property.
“As soon as he was up on the property, he heard the Lord’s voice say, ‘I have this place for you. This is what I intended for you,’” Hines said.
Eight shows are currently being filmed on the estate, either in one of the living rooms or in the ballroom, Hines said during a recent tour of the property. Turner was traveling and not available for an interview.
Plans are in the works to modify the ballroom to build three fully-functioning, permanent soundstages and a control room.
Makeshift soundstages now operate on either side of the ballroom and cameras are set up in one of the living spaces. There are also plans to film worship sessions around the outdoor pool.
Turner, who made his wealth through snack food businesses headquartered in Phoenix, Az., once dreamed of owning an oceanfront property. But Turner’s spiritual advisor, Harry Gomes, who has his own ministry in India, told Turner that God had a list of five places Turner should live. Buckhead was the number one place, Hines said.
“They had never heard of Buckhead, Georgia. They were just like, ‘Why would God move us to Buckhead?’” Hines said.
So the Turners visited Buckhead and decided they should look at the Tyler Perry mansion because it was “so beautiful,” Hines said.
Despite Turner’s initial fear of the steep bills that come with the mansion, he trusted that buying it was God’s plan for him and made an offer, Hines said.
The property’s aesthetics are influenced by the Gothic architectural style, especially in the decorative arches on the ceiling and columns found throughout the house. A large infinity pool is surrounded by three hot tubs and overlooks the Chattahoochee River. During the recent tour, various small Christmas decorations were placed around the house, including gingerbread houses, a small Santa and miniature Christmas trees.
Turner sold his businesses and now operates the ministry full-time. Access to all the videos is free, and Hines said Turner plans never to make money off the ministry.
“God blessed [Turner] in business so that he could maintain his ministry,” Hines said.
Turner chose to build a streaming network instead of a broadcast network so he could fully fund it himself, Hines said. Broadcasting a show would cost anywhere between $1,000 and $10,000, and Turner didn’t want to have to ask for donations to run the network, Hines said.
“It seems like the younger generation is truly turned off by asking for donations,” Hines said.
Hines and Turner conceived the idea for the network during a dedication ceremony for the house held in the ballroom, which about 150 pastors from around the country attended, Hines said.
The eight shows being filmed on the estate talk about topics including marriage, prayer, healing and the Bible. Most are hosted by Turner and his wife Jennifer and streamed on a mobile application, he said.
Turner’s 14-year-old son Christopher hosts his own program called “The Truth,” on which he interviews people from around metro Atlanta about times they have told lies.
Church services from around the U.S., including ones from Buckhead’s Mount Paran Church, are streamed live on the platform, Hines said.
Seventeen contributors from around the world, including ones in Israel and Nigeria, send in videos as well, Hines said.
The staff running the network works out of Perry’s former “hobby house.” When the Turners moved in, they had to have Perry’s extensive model train tracks removed from the middle level of the house. Perry also built model airplanes on the top floor of the hobby house and landed them on a small runway outside, where Turner’s son now practices his baseball pitches.
For more information on Turner’s network, visit jesuslivetv.com.
Photos by Evelyn Andrews