Gray Closes On Its Movie, TV Production Facility Buy


ATLANTA — On the northeast corner of the I-285 spur, adjacent to Norcross, is the town of Doraville, Ga.

It’s home to a movie and television production facility developed five years ago that just happens to be next to an entertainment-centric studio and community development dubbed “Assembly.”

That proximity is what led one of the biggest broadcast TV station ownership groups to buy the film facility, Third Rail Studios, in a multimillion-dollar deal that closed on Tuesday.


Gray Television has completed its purchase of Third Rail Studios from The Integral Group for $27.5 million.

And, it will be a key component to Assembly, presently under development at the former site of a General Motors Assembly Plant.

Gray says the location is “conveniently located” inside the I-285 perimeter.

With no traffic, it’s about a 25-minute drive from CNN Center in downtown Atlanta. MARTA Gold Line service to Doraville is available to, and it offers a direct 75-minute connection to Atlanta Hartsfield International Airport.

Integral purchased the property in 2014 and master developed the site before selling to Gray in March 2021.

Since it opened its doors in 2016, Third Rail Studios has gotten attention for its stages, mill and support spaces, and production offices; Gray says it will serve as an anchor for the future multi-studio site.

For the past few years, Netflix has produced a number of feature-length programs at
Third Rail Studios, including “Ozark.” Recently, Apple leased a significant amount of space within Third Rail Studios to help fulfill its production needs.

Gray CEO Hilton H. Howell calls Third Rail Studios “a pioneer in bringing film and television production to the Atlanta community. We are excited to join forces to create an entire
studio city to serve Georgia’s booming media industry and we are thankful for all of the work already completed at Assembly and proud to usher in the next chapter for the historical site.”

Development plans for Assembly include studio space, mixed-use development, as well as entertainment areas that will be a go-to destination for the Atlanta community. The first phase is expected to be finished by fall 2022.

Gray isn’t a stranger to sound stages: the company is a majority investor in Atlanta-based Swirl Films, which will occupy one of the stages on the property. Gray also owns video
production companies Raycom Sports, Tupelo-Raycom, and RTM Studios, the producer of PowerNation programs and content. Furthermore, Gray launched Circle Network with Opry Entertainment in January 2020.

Gray Television, pending FCC approval of its Meredith Local Media transaction, will soon become the second largest local broadcaster in the United States. Gray will own
television stations serving 113 markets that reach approximately 36% of U.S. television households.