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Walls are up at Assembly Studios' first sound stage | What it means for Doraville

The project is expected to transform the city.
Third Rail Studios will be the first major project at "Assembly," the site of the old GM Doraville auto assembly plant.

DORAVILLE, Ga. — As the walls of the Assembly Studios' first sound stage go up, Doraville Mayor Joseph Geierman hopes the area will become a bustling job center, similar to the success of the former General Motors Corp. plant the studio replaced.

Assembly Studios is part of Assembly Atlanta, a 127-acre site that Gray Television (NYSE: GTN) and developer The Gipson Co. bought last year. The 19-sound stage studio is expected to be completed by June 1, 2023, said Gray Television Director of Studios Operations Justin Campbell. Atlanta-based design firm Smith Dalia Architects is handling the architecture duties, according to reporting from 11Alive's news partner The Atlanta Business Chronicle

If all 19 sound stages are operating at once, it could mean thousands of well-paying jobs in Doraville, a city of just over 10,200 residents, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. The studios would also include restaurants, retail and a nearly five-acre public park on its grounds.

"We had this hole in the city where nothing was going on, so seeing the studios actually going up there is huge," Geierman told Atlanta Business Chronicle. "It shows people of Doraville that we have a partner who will do what they say."

The General Motors plant formerly at that site employed about 3,100 workers and closed in 2008. The Integral Group bought the site in 2014, landed a few tenants, but fell short of its $2 billion redevelopment plan. That's when Gray Television bought it.

"Part of the reason I ran for office was because Doraville had so much potential," said Geierman. "This [studio project] will ultimately be a major jobs site, similar to what the General Motors plant was when it opened over 70 years ago."

Third Rail Studios landed a leasing deal with Apple Inc., the tech giant that produces hit comedy series "Ted Lasso." Apple is the latest big brand to ink a deal with Third Rail Studios.

The studios could help the city of Doraville join the ranks of its sister cities in DeKalb County as a film production and movie studio hub.

The film industry has proven to be a huge job provider throughout Georgia. At full capacity, Assembly Atlanta will offer thousands of jobs to not only actors, directors and producers, but to electricians, lighting and gas workers, construction workers, landscapers and security officers.

Read the full report here.

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