There’s a major plot twist afoot in Doraville.
A growing Atlanta-based media company is planning to buy Doraville’s long-planned Assembly mixed-use property and create its own 127-acre master-planned community with a backbone of movie and TV production facilities.
Gray Television—a digital media and broadcasting company headquartered in Atlanta that operates in 57 U.S. markets and growing—will turn the former General Motors plant site into what company heads are calling a “Studio City,” the largest mix of Hollywood meets mixed-use in Georgia.
Once it assumes control of the property from developer Integral Group, should a deal finalize, Gray’s initial "creative city" development plans would include 10 television and movie production studios, plus an e-gaming facility.
A sizable mix of apartments, townhomes, hotel space, restaurants, retail, and corporate offices is also in the works, alongside communal greenspace and water features, per a company announcement.
Gray CEO Hilton Howell and developer Jay Gipson of the Gipson Company began talks with Doraville leadership about the project in August.
City leaders expect Gray’s vision, should the deal happen, will create thousands of jobs and a wave of investment at the massive, largely barren site where Interstate 285 meets a MARTA line and urbanizing Peachtree Road.
Gray plans to use a portion of the studio property to produce its TV projects, but the vast majority of space will be reserved for outside filming companies that lease facilities, Powell said in an announcement video posted this week.
Bisnow reports Integral’s sale of the Assembly property—where Chairman and CEO Egbert Perry and company had envision a $2-billion ITP mini city since buying the site in 2014—to Gray is all but a sure bet, following a hastily called meeting of Doraville’s Downtown Development Authority this week.
That is, if the two companies can reach a purchase agreement by a deadline of today.
The AJC reports Gray would receive up to $1.5 billion in bonds, a means to help finance construction, that Doraville’s economic development authority had previously issued to Integral.
Doraville’s Mayor Joseph Geierman told the newspaper the media company is “the user that we’ve been hoping for since the plant closed back in 2008,” while other city leaders pointed to Gray’s financial health (a $2 billion market cap) as a positive sign.
Should the sale go through, Gray’s investment is expected to be the largest in Doraville since just after World War II, when the sprawling car factory debuted.
The initial phase could break ground as early as this summer, with the full project wrapped within five years.
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