NBCUniversal to Operate New Assembly Film Studio at GM’s North Atlanta Plant Site

Assembly Studios, by linking up with NBCUniversal, a deep-pocketed multimedia content creator, will be assured of a steady stream of major productions in the future.

The company’s portfolio includes broadcast network NBC, streaming service Peacock, Universal Pictures and cable networks such as Bravo, E!, Syfy and USA Network. It’s a huge commitment from a New York-based media giant, signaling its confidence in the state’s tax credit system to continue without any crippling changes.

Georgia’s film and television production tax credits are among the biggest business incentives the state offers each year. The state provided $1.2 billion in tax credits for the year ending June 30, 2021 to companies like Sony, Netflix and Paramount with an estimated $4 billion in direct capital investment from of 366 eligible TV shows and movies.

Gray, one of the nation’s largest local TV owners, including Atlanta’s CBS46 (WGCL-TV) and Peachtree TV (WPCH-TV), purchased the property in 2021. Gray has ambitious plans to build a mixed-use operation on the 135 acres.

“Their investment in Assembly will accelerate Gray Television’s plans to transform the site of our former GM plant into a true ‘Studio City,'” Doraville Mayor Joseph Geierman said in a press release. “The economic impact on Doraville, the Atlanta metro area and the state of Georgia cannot be overstated. In addition, this announcement fits perfectly with the city’s efforts to develop a new downtown.

NBCUniversal will operate assembly studios on the former Doraville General Motors plant property. The walls are now going up on the first sound stages. CONTRIBUTED

Credit: CONTRIBUTED

Credit: CONTRIBUTED

NBCUniversal will operate assembly studios on the former Doraville General Motors plant property. The walls are now going up on the first sound stages. CONTRIBUTED

Credit: CONTRIBUTED

Credit: CONTRIBUTED

JC Bradbury, an economics professor at Kennesaw State University who believes these types of tax credits are far more beneficial to business bottom lines than to taxpayers, said he’s not surprised NBCUniversal has made this decision considering the amount the company would likely get in return.

“Given that both Georgia gubernatorial politicians have declared their strong support for tax credits,” he said, “I won’t be surprised if we see more similar projects.”

GM opened the Doraville assembly plant in 1947. Some of the famous vehicles that rolled out of the plant included 1950s Pontiac Bonnevilles and 1960s Chevy Impalas.

In the 2000s, the Doraville plant made largely forgettable minivans, and GM closed the plant in 2008 as part of a corporate restructuring. Its closure was seen as an economic double whammy for Doraville coupled with the Great Recession.

In 2014, a development team that included Atlanta companies The Integral Group and Macauley + Schmit acquired the 165-acre site with grand plans for a mixed-use downtown for Doraville. The site has been introduced to Fortune 500 companies.

Part of the site was sold off for car dealerships, another section became the headquarters of mattress giant Serta Simmons Bedding and around seven acres became Third Rail Studios, a small film studio that opened in 2016 and has hosted NBC’s “Good Girls”. and Netflix’s “Ozark.”

Gray said Assembly Studios will be the focal point covering 43 acres. It will include sound stages, production offices, warehouse and factory buildings, event space and parking. NBC will eventually have a full office suite to support television and film production. NBCUniversal will also manage Third Rail Studios.

Grey, wwhich also owns Swirl Films, will also have its own studio. In a press release, Gray said this lease agreement would leverage NBCU’s experience in managing studio lots, allowing Gray to focus on its own video production business.

Crews began constructing roads and infrastructure in the Assembly Studios complex last summer, with construction on Gray’s Swirl Films beginning late last year. NBCU installations are expected to start this summer.

Gray said he hopes the Assembly Studios complex will be completed in the second half of 2023. If all goes well, Gray’s Swirl Films, NBCU and all third-party tenants will be able to start film and television projects there by the end of it. of the year.

On the rest of the land, Gray plans to build a town center over five to seven years. Gray’s plan includes a boutique hotel, townhouses and apartments, retail, restaurants, entertainment venues including online gaming facilities, a conference center and office buildings.

Gray, a publicly traded company, said it plans to invest $130-140 million in 2022 in the project and another $80-90 million in capital expenditures in 2023.