Gray Television to purchase Third Rail Studios in Doraville

Third Rail Studios is located at the former General Motors Assembly site that is being transformed into a ‘studio city’
Third Rail Studios, one of three large film and TV production studios in DeKalb County, is located on the old General Motors plant site in Doraville.

Credit: J. Scott Trubey/STAFF

Credit: J. Scott Trubey/STAFF

Third Rail Studios, one of three large film and TV production studios in DeKalb County, is located on the old General Motors plant site in Doraville.

A studio company is being sold and blended into a massive film production hub that will transform Doraville’s Assembly site.

Gray Television, which bought the former General Motors manufacturing plant site earlier this year, agreed to purchase Third Rail Studios by the end of August. Third Rail Studios’ three sound stages will join several more studios that Gray and co-developer The Gipson Co. plan to build at the Assembly site.

In March, Gray announced it would build at least 10 film studios on 128 acres of undeveloped Assembly property, which is located off Peachtree Road just south of I-285. The first phase of Gray’s plans also include buildings that focus on e-gaming, digital media and robotics, all of which would be named “Studio City.” Later phases will include apartments, townhomes, a hotel, corporate offices, restaurants and retail space.

The pending Third Rail Studios sale was discussed during last Wednesday’s City Council meeting by Jay Gipson, owner of the Gipson Co.

“We have agreed in principal and will be purchasing Third Rail Studios by the end of August,” Gipson said, adding the closing date should be Aug. 31. “Third Rail will be blended into the Assembly development.”

This is a rendering of the new vision for Doraville's Assembly project.

Credit: Gray Television

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Credit: Gray Television

No further details on the sale, such as the price, were provided. Neither Gray nor Third Rail Studios immediately responded to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s requests for comment.

Gray, which owns TV stations in nearly 100 U.S. markets, is using the Assembly site to make one of the state’s largest film production sites. Gipson previously said that Gray’s investment in a small independent film studio, Swirl Films, led the company to ramp up its production footprint.

Third Rail Studios has been located on Assembly property since it was founded in 2016. Its studios are currently leased by Netflix, but Gipson said the small studio company recently landed a deal to work with Apple, which produces shows like “Ted Lasso” and “The Morning Show” for its Apple TV+ streaming service.

“They’re going to maintain their name,” Gipson said. “There will be a transition period between our studios and theirs, but they’re going to keep Third Rail (Studios) for use down the road.”

Gipson, who has been giving the Doraville City Council monthly updates on the Assembly project’s progress, said he anticipates Gray’s film studios to be finished by the third financial quarter of 2022. He expects the full first phase of the project to be completed by mid-2023. Construction on the site will begin Friday.