Company poised to purchase Doraville’s Assembly project, develop film studios

Orien Reid installs window blinds at the new Serta Simons Bedding headquarters overlooking the Assembly development in Doraville.

Credit: Curtis Compton /

Credit: Curtis Compton /

Orien Reid installs window blinds at the new Serta Simons Bedding headquarters overlooking the Assembly development in Doraville.

An Atlanta media company looks to buy Doraville’s Assembly project, one of the largest redevelopment efforts in metro Atlanta, to transform it into a film and entertainment center.

Pearl Railroad Assembly Yard LLC, an affiliate of Gray Television, is poised to purchase 128 acres of the Assembly site, according to city documents. The Doraville Downtown Development Authority will discuss the potential deal at a 6 p.m. Monday meeting and will vote on whether it should proceed.

Pearl Railroad Assembly Yard was registered to Ellenann B. Yelverton, who is the senior vice president and deputy general counsel to Gray Television, according to Georgia Secretary of State records. This connection was first reported by online real estate publication Bisnow.

Gray Television operates TV stations in dozens of U.S. markets, including multiple in Georgia but none in Atlanta. Bisnow also reported that Atlanta-based The Gipson Co. is a partner in the purchase and will be the primary developer.

The Assembly project, located near Peachtree Road and I-285, is the name for the prior location of a General Motors plant that shut down in 2008, leaving its 165-acre campus mostly dormant.

The development authority, which includes Councilman Andy Yeoman as a board member, will review multiple contracts during the meeting, including the transfer of $1.5 billion worth of bonds that were previously approved for the massive redevelopment project.

“Upon potentially closing this week, the potential new owner will announce their plans for the site,” Yeoman said in a Facebook post.

There will be a meeting of the Downtown Doraville Development Authority at 6:00 PM tomorrow. We will consider consent...

Posted by Andy Yeoman - Doraville City Council Member on Sunday, March 28, 2021

Monday’s meeting agenda gives a sneak peek at the new intentions for the land. The pitch by Pearl Railroad Assembly Yard, which is based in Delaware, includes “film production studios and research and development.”

A site plan for the first phase of the project includes at least 10 film studios spread across about 17 acres. The plan also includes a separate building for “e-gaming, digital media and robotics.”

This is a phase 1 site map included in the Doraville Downtown Development Authority's agenda packet for March 29.

Credit: City of Doraville

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Credit: City of Doraville

Atlanta real estate company Integral Group is the property’s current developer. In 2019, it announced lofty plans for the site that included building 750 multifamily housing units and 300,000 square feet of office space by 2021.

Third Rail Studios, a film and production company, has had a location at the site since 2016. Two other companies, Serta Simmons Bedding and Asbury Automotive, also purchased Assembly property from Integral Group to develop facilities.

The development authority has to approve the sale because it owns the property as part of a 2016 deal with Integral Group, which included the large bond approval. A 35% property tax break over the next 30 years was also included in that deal.

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