Executives who used to run Doraville’s Third Rail Studios are moving forward with a new venture: Electric Owl Studios, a six-stage, 17-acre facility off I-285 south of Memorial Drive.
The operations, scheduled to open in early 2023, will be near the Indian Creek MARTA station.
Michael Hahn, a real estate developer working with operations specialist Dan Rosenfelt, said they raised about $50 million to get the studios off the ground.
“We liked the location, the proximity to Atlanta and the airport and the fact we could compile a good-sized piece of land for a relatively decent price,” Hahn said.
“It’s been a dream of mine for awhile to own a place and build it,” Rosenfelt said. “I want this to be turn-key user friendly to productions across the board and aesthetically pleasing. Mike’s an awesome developer and pushed this pebble up the mountain pretty much single-handedly.”
The pair had previously worked together at Third Rail Studios in Doraville on part of the former General Motors site. That studio was sold earlier this year to Atlanta-based Gray Television, which is building a much bigger movie and TV film studio there, along with apartments, townhomes, a hotel, corporate offices, restaurants and retail space.
For Electric Owl, they are investing extra money to ensure the operations are LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) gold-standard certified.
Solar panels will cover 30% of their energy costs. They will capture rainwater for use on site. They are installing high-energy HVAC systems. They will have 48 electric vehicle charging stations. There will also be smart thermostats and LED lighting throughout the facility.
“Sustainability at places like Netflix and NBCUniversal are becoming a bigger priority,” Rosenfelt said. “They’re making a more concerted effort every year on the green front.”
TV and film producers, with streaming services rapidly expanding original content, are jockeying for stage space worldwide. Georgia now ranks among the biggest in the country in terms of stage square footage with more than 110 stages, most of which are in use at any given time.
Electric Owl will have 140,000 in total square footage of stage space, 50,000 square feet of office space and 75,000 square feet in construction and support space. In comparison, Third Rail has 60,000 square feet in stage space, 30,000 square feet in office space and 70,000 square feet in construction and support space.
“We are large enough for a Marvel-size film but small enough to be considered a boutique property,” Rosenfelt said. “We can focus on one or two big productions at a time and give them the type of attention and treatment they deserve.”
He anticipates 15 to 20 full-time employees and up to 1,000 people on site when all stages are being utilized.
Hahn said the name Electric Owl is slang for night watchmen in a railyard. “We thought it was a good metaphor for what we do,” Hahn said. “We act as shepherds for productions. And it also has that energy connotation.”
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